Strength & conditioning - 002

Hip exercise routine

All running or walking activities challenge your hip and core stability. Good hip and core stability isn’t just about strength, it’s about timing. The muscles around your hips and core don’t work in isolation, they work as a team, where proactive stabilisation precedes the actual movement. For example, your body is already making adjustments to keep your hips and core stable when you run.   

Core and hip stability exercises make muscles stronger, but also smarter. This will enable your muscles to do a better job with your posture and body alignment through your hips and core while you’re running or walking without you even thinking about it. 

Some advice before you start:

Complete these hip exercises in a slow, controlled fashion. Pay attention to the movement. Start with simple exercises before progressing to more advanced ones. Quality > Quantity! 

Disclaimer / This exercise routine is not designed as an injury rehab routine, but rather a supplementary session to improve muscle strength and coordination. You should not experience any discomfort or pain doing these exercises. Please avoid doing them if you are currently injured or unwell. Prioritise correct exercise technique over speed.  

Half step (front-to-back)

Start in a half squat position. Shift your weight to one foot while maintaining balance. Your free leg should touch the ground in front of you and then behind you. Repeat while keeping your core as stable as possible and not allowing your hip to drop.

Complete 2-3 sets and as many repetitions as you can using good form

Banded walk

Put an elastic band around your ankles. Keep your hands on your waist. Move forward with your feet in zigzag pattern, maintaining balance in your core and hips. The slower you go the more challenging the exercise is.

Complete 2-3 sets, approx. 6-8 steps

Donkey toes

Start on your feet and hands keeping your spine stable and perpendicular to the ground. Lift your thigh without loosing stability and control. Try to keep your thigh bent at 90 degrees. You can choose to complete one side first or alternate between legs for each repetition.

Complete 2-3 sets, 6-8 repetitions each side

Standing hip rotations

Start from standing with both feet touching the ground. Shift your weight on one foot while maintaining balance. Start making slow and big circle-shape rotations from your hips without losing your balance. Focusing on keeping complete control. If you find it challenging to maintain your balance it’s fine to hold onto something. 

Complete 2 sets, 5-8 rotations each side

Single leg bridge

Start on the floor. Extend your arms up into the air. Bend your knees to approx. 90 degree angle and lift your hips from the ground, engaging your glutes, so that your lower and upper body forms a straight line. Now, straighten the leg on one side without allowing your hip to drop. Lower your hips and come back to the same position in controlled and slow fashion.

Complete 2-3 sets, 4-8 repetitions each side

Single leg hop forward

Shift to a single leg stance. Load your muscles while lowering your centre of mass and hop a small step forward. Try to calculate the movement in your head so that you land in full control and without losing balance. Then, hop another two or three steps forward before walking back to the start or turning around and switching legs. 

Complete a total of 12-15 mini-hops with each leg

Single leg side step

Start in a half squat position. Choose a side and reach with your foot as far as you can without losing control and balance. Switch sides and repeat. You can choose to complete several steps on one side first or alternate between legs with each repetition.

Complete 2-3 sets,  ~8-12 steps each side

Hip flex with resistance band

Put an elastic band around your ankles. Make your stance a bit wider. Flex your hip to 90-110 degrees without losing balance and keeping your posture straight. The elastic band will create an extra challenge. Alternate between sides for each repetition. 

Complete 2-3 sets,  8-12 repetitions

Single leg hop (from side-to-side)

Hop from one side to other side approximately one metre apart. Each time push from the ground from a single foot and try to land on one foot. Your free leg/foot will just be“catching-up” and occasionally helping you to keep your balance.

Complete 2-3 sets,  6-10 hops from side-to-side