6 Hip Strengthening Exercises for Runners

Last week I shared what I learned during my video running analysis. I came out of that session horrified that I looked so sloppy while running. I’m bound and determined to right my wrongs. If I keep up with my messy form, I’ll be needing a total knee and hip replacement asap.

A few of you asked what hip strengthening exercises I’ve been incorporating into my routine since beginning PT back in July. These 6 hip strengthening exercises are for runners but are really great for any sport or person. Simple and effective, they are the base of any hip strengthening program. They got me back to running after taking 6 weeks off – proof that even though basic, they do the job!

First of all:

  • You’ll need a resistance band for the exercises.
  •  Do 3 sets of 20 for each leg

Please note that these exercises were prescribed to me by my physical therapist for my ailment. While I am an ACSM certified exercise specialist and former personal trainer, I am not your trainer.

Hip Strengthening Exercises for Runners - happyfitmama.comMonster Walk

  1. Step on a band, feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. Hold an end of the band in each hand.
  2. To begin, take short steps forward, keeping a slight bend in your knee, alternating your left and right foot and keeping the band tight at all times.
  3. After 20 steps forward, do just the opposite and walk backward to where you started.

Standing Hip Flexor

  1. Put your right foot in the resistance band and turn so you are facing away from the band’s anchor (wrap around table leg or other sturdy object)
  2. Keeping your right leg straight, lift it forward to a count of two, then release it back down to a count of two.
  3. Repeat on the other leg.

Standing Hip Abductor

1. Anchor a resistance band to a stable object.
2. Loop the other end around your right foot so the band crosses in front of you.
3. Standing with your left leg slightly behind you, keep your right leg straight and lift it out to the side. Lift it to a count of two, then release it back down to a count of two.
4. Repeat on the other leg.

Clamshell (with or without resistance band)

  1. Lie on your left side on the floor, with your hips and knees bent 45 degrees.
  2. Your right leg should be on top of your left leg, your heels together.
  3. Keeping your feet in contact with each other, raise your right knee as high as you can without moving your pelvis.
  4. Don’t allow your left leg to move off the floor.
  5. Return to the starting position.

Lateral Leg Raise (aka Jane Fonda, sweat band and leotard optional)

  1. Lay on your right side with your legs extended out and stacked one atop the other.  Head can be supported with hand.
  2. Engage your left glute muscles and slowly lift up your leg keeping your foot in a neutral position.
  3. Lower leg to starting position.

Bridge with Resistance Band

  1. Wrap a resistance band above your knees.
  2. Lie on your back with knees bent, and place your feet hip width apart.
  3. The elastic band should be tight and provide resistance to your legs and glutes.
  4. Push your hips up from the floor without arching your back. Hold for five seconds and then slowly lower your spine back down on the floor.

What’s your favorite hip strengthening exercise?

Have you ever done a Jane Fonda workout? I must confess that I had a favorite Jane video back in the 90s. I may or may not have worn a leotard with spandex shorts underneath while doing it. 🙂

37 comments on “6 Hip Strengthening Exercises for Runners

  1. Thanks for sharing these awesome exercises. Hip strength & flexibilty are so important, especially for mamas! I’ve never been a fan of videos. Think is has everything to do with my utter lack of coordination/ability to do anything to music. But isn’t it funny to see some of the fashion coming back in style. Are compression shorts & socks really that different?
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..100 Reasons to SmileMy Profile

  2. Jane Fonda *audio* tape in college! I was just recently wondering where that went… Thanks to Jane, I think I lost weight that first year.
    Love the exercises you shared. Strong hips are so important.

  3. Love these – I’m always trying to work on my hips since I’ve had so many issues over the years (and my age is working against me!). I’m not sure I’ve ever added a band for the bridge – gonna have to give that a try!
    Kim recently posted..I Almost Fell off my TreadmillMy Profile

  4. Great Post! And I couldn’t agree more with the importance of strengthening the hips for both more efficient running and long term running health.
    I’m so glad that you mentioned the clamshell because it is a not often utilized exercise that is very beneficial in promoting effective hip firing during movement.
    Another really great hip and abductor/adductor movement is the moving side lunge. I get deep (thighs a bit above parallel) and spread my legs out wide and then bring them back together. Usually about 10 reps each direction two times and then repeat. I have gotten to the point where I am adding weight (by either holding a weight plate at your chest or holding a barbell in the crux of your elbows) and it is another very effective exercise.

    Glad that you posted this for your readers.. there are real benefits here!

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