Hip strength is important for any runner to maintain power and strength. Hips strengthening also protects one from unwanted running injury like iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), and piriformis pain. Here are four exercises that improve strength and balance of the hip muscle.

Back Extensions
Lie facing downwards on a stable ball with your feet wider than your hips, and elbows dipping down while your hands are just touching the ground for support. Now, bend your glutes and slowly lift your torso up until your body is straight. As you lift up, extend your hands, keeping your elbows bent. Raise your arms overhead for one or two seconds. When releasing, let your arms go first, and then bring your torso back down to the start position.

Single leg deadlift
Stand on your right leg with your left leg behind you and in the air. Keeping your shoulders back and your back straight, hinge forward and reach your hands toward the ground. Return back up and repeat. Hold weights or a medicine ball for an added challenge.

Hip hike
Stand sideways on a step, box, or bench at least four inches high with one leg held free of the bench, and keep both hips squared forward and shoulders level. Keeping your standing leg (the one on the bench) straight, raise your free hip directly upward and then drop the leg.

Wall Bridge is an excellent way to strengthen your hip and glutes
Wall Bridge is an excellent way to strengthen your hip and glutes

Lower-Body Russian Twist
It’s very simple and you don’t need any kind of weights to perform this drill. Begin by lying on your back and keeping your legs parallel to the floor and your knees bent at a right angle. Now lower your legs to the left while maintaining ground contact with your shoulders. Do not let your knees buckle or your torso come off the floor. Come back to the starting position after a few seconds, and repeat the motion on the right.

One of the key functions of hip abductor muscles is stabilizing the pelvis and knee during activities such as cycling and running. The adductors keep the hips and knees balanced, creating a natural alignment, which many of us know as rhythm. When they are weak or under strain, hip abductors cannot co-ordinate the various movements in your lower body, leading to missteps, irregular impact on knees and shin, as well as stress and inflammation in hamstring. In many ways, the hip abductor muscles are the engine of your lower body.

In addition to a decrease in your running power, you would be faced with increased risk of injury. The good news is that most routine workouts involved strengthening these muscles. Some simple exercises are enough to activate and make your hip adductors stronger, and more fortified.

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