There are 4 exercises in this section that are an excellent addition to any runners training program. Click here to view all 4 exercies. They are ofetn used as part of a rehabilitation program for treating an injury, but are also useful for general conditioning and injury prevention. They focus on the muscles used for power and stability. These workouts are an integral part of my weekly strength routine. Runners tend to have very weak hips and can often be the source for many injuries not only in the hips themselves, but perculating throughout the lower extremities. I typically run very techinical trails and those who know trails understand the constant manipulation of its surface structure, resulting in excessive pronating at times along with many other terrain variables that require supporting muscles to help balance the body; therefore it is important to keep the hips/ITB flexible and strong, while also taking pressure off the knees. My favorite hip abduction workout is (one leg at a time) putting my foot in a stirup on the cable machine and extending my leg outward. You can adjust weight for tension as needed. Most gyms also have a hip adduction machine, but if you do not have access to a gym, one of the best investments you can have is a simple thera-band. You can typically get various (colors/resistances) thera-bands from your physical therapist for free or even your local hardware store should have tubing. Simply by sitting in a chair you can accomplish all of these workouts with a thera-band. I have them stashed at work, home and when I travel. Thread both legs through the band and position the band just below the knees. You can now flex inward and outward, one foot at a time by rolling your foot. Refrain from trying to use your entire leg or knee as that is considered "cheating" and the workout will not localize the hips and piriforimis, but rather the entire leg, similar to cheating on a situp. You want to reduce any excess motion.
Hip adduction is the opposite motion of that pictured above Hip extension is the opposite motion of that pictured above
Although there are exercise machines which simulate these actions, these exercises are best done standing with a pulley system (as illustrated). If needed, one or two fingers of the hand of one arm may be used to hold on to an adjacent support (e.g., frame or upright bench). The reason for minumal support is that it helps emphasize correct balancing by the muscles in the pelvis and leg. Sets of high repetition, with low resistance should be done.
Next post will be in regard to Hip flexibility and stretches. I have some great ones that will really start to loosen things up and for those that have never stretched before make you wonder why you hadn't started this years ago (:
Hopefully these few easy tips will help and make you stronger on the trails.