I’ve been paying a lot more attention to my GLUTES and pelvic stability these past few weeks and the results are showing in more ways than one:)  For the last 5 + months I’ve experienced a nagging and painful hip on a daily basis and I can now say it is finally on the mend with zero to very little pain.

 In an attempt to stop this nagging pain, I’ve had massage, chiropractor visits, and most recently started pilates instruction (which led to a greater awareness of the alignment of my pelvis and how to keep it where it needs to be).  I think all of these services have played a role in my hip gradually getting a little better, however, I feel that my recent increase in glute training has made the most difference.  

If you’re experiencing hip and/or knee pain, give these exercises a try (see below).  They sure have helped me!  My stronger backside will keep me feeling and looking good!

Glute Strength

Put injuries behind you by working this key—but often neglected—muscle group.
By Nikki Kimball Image by Justin SteeleFrom the March 2011 issue of Runner’s World 

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.

Place a resistance band just above your knees. Separate your feet and bend your knees, lowering down into a slightly crouched position. Balance on your left leg.

1. With slow, controlled motions, move your right leg forward against the band’s resistance, then back to the starting position.
2. Without placing your right foot back on the floor, move it out to the side, then return to the starting position.
3. Move your right foot behind you, then back to the starting position. That’s one repetition.

Tight hip flexors can inhibit the firing of glute muscles. Do this stretch after every run. Step forward and lower your back knee. Keep your knee over your ankle. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.

Stand on your left leg. Lift your right out in front of you. Stand tall (don’t round your shoulders), and keep your left knee over your ankle as you lower down into a squat. Your hands can extend out for balance. Push into your heel to come back up and repeat. Start with shallow squats; go deeper as it becomes easier.

Lie on your side with your legs extended out straight. Your lower arm can rest under your head; your top arm can rest on your hip. Lift the top leg up while keeping your hips steady and facing forward (do not rotate backward). Lower down and repeat. For an added challenge, wear an ankle weight.

To watch a video of this routine, visit runnersworld.com/glutes.

Only have time for one exercise? The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reports that the side-lying leg lift activates the glutes the most.