Lateral Band Walks
This exercise targets the hip adductors. Focus on moving slowly through each step rather than using momentum to swing your legs from side to side, Kotek says.
- Start in a quarter-squat position (a shallower squat) with a mini looped resistance band just above your knees.
- Take a giant step to your right with your right foot, then follow with your left.
- Step back with your left, and then your right, to return to starting position.
- Repeat the movement but this time, begin with the left foot. That’s one rep.
- Continue this movement, alternating directions each time.
Similar to (but just different enough from!) lateral band walks, this variation trains the glute medius from a different angle while also training the hip flexors and extensors in the front and back of your hips, respectively, Kotek says.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, a mini looped resistance band just above your knees, and your knees slightly bent. (Don’t lock them out.)
- Take a giant diagonal step forward and to the right with your right foot, then follow with your left, ending with your feet together.
- To return to starting position, reverse the movement, stepping diagonally behind your body with each step.
- Take another diagonal step forward, this time leading with the left foot instead and following with your right.
- Reverse the movement to return to starting position. That’s one rep.
- Repeat this movement, alternating directions each time.
Side Planks With Leg Abduction
Strengthening the core and glute medius muscles will help limit your body’s side-to-side motion when running, Kotek says.
- Start in a side-plank position with your feet stacked, balanced on your lower foot and forearm. Loop the resistance band just above your knees.
- Squeeze your glutes to lift your top leg toward the ceiling as high as possible while keeping the rest of your body in a straight line from head to heels.
- Pause, then slowly lower the top leg to return to start. That’s one rep.
- Repeat all reps, then perform on the opposite side.
Mini-Band Glute Bridges
This variation on the master glute-strengthening move, the glute bridge, hones in on hip stability and improves the ability to drive through the ground and power each stride.
- Lie face up with your back flat on the floor, a mini looped resistance band just above your knees, and your feet flat on the floor, spread hip-width apart.
- Push through your heels and squeeze your glutes to raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees.
- Pause, then slowly lower your hips to return to start. That’s one rep.
“Nothing beats a properly performed squat, which has fantastic activation of both the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius—as long as it is performed correctly,” Kalika says. Using a looped resistance band can help you maintain proper form and muscle engagement. With each rep, work to keep your knees from caving in toward each other.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a mini looped resistance band just above your knees.
- Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower down as far as possible into a squat without letting your knees fall in toward each other.
- Pause, then drive through your heels to return to starting position. That’s one rep.
Kalika says that being able to do single-leg squats without dropping the knee, hiking the pelvis, or rotating away is a great goal for all runners. After all, running is pretty much just performing alternating single-leg squats for miles at a time.
- Stand tall with your back facing a flat bench, and lift one foot a few inches in front of you.
- Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower down as far as possible into a single-leg squat. Once you master lowering to touch your glutes to the bench without relaxing onto it, lower the bench or try lowering to the floor.
- Pause, then push through your planted heel to return to start. That’s one rep.
- Perform all reps, then repeat on the opposite side.
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