Runners – Don’t forget your core!!
Key tip for trying to avoid injury is to include specific core strength training in your running diary. With running being a highly repetitive impact activity you are at risk of overuse injuries especially to the knees and leg muscles particularly the hamstrings. When people think about “core exercises” they often think it is all about your abdominals but your core involves over ten major muscle groups which work together. So what are the some of the key core muscles to strengthen for running? The glute (buttock) muscles are the biggest in the whole body and if they are inactive or weak then that can put more workload on smaller muscles such as the hamstrings and ITB which can then become overworked and strained.
So what are the best exercises to activate the glutes??
Studies show that the Single leg squat is excellent for activating the gluteus medius-one of the key buttock muscles. Stand on a step with your hands on your hips and raise the right leg so it’s in front of you. Balancing on the left leg bend your left knee and slowly lower your body until the heel of the right leg gently touches the floor. Straighten your knee back to the starting position pushing through your left heel and repeat ten times before switching sides. Ideally you should feel a sensation of effort in the outer buttock but if it provokes any pain or discomfort stop the exercise and consult with a physiotherapist.
For activating Glute Max-the major buttock muscle studies show that the simple step up exercise is one of the most effective. The key factor here is technique as it is a very easy exercise to do with faulty technique so that you don’t achieve effective activation of your buttock muscle.
If you click here, you can see and follow our technique cues but again if you feel any pain with this exercise stop immediately and do consult with a physiotherapist.