Spring usually means the beginning of race season, but instead we have new goals in mind, to flatten the coronavirus curve and stay safe and healthy. Maintaining our physical and mental health is important especially during this global pandemic, and we are here to help.
As many of you may or may not know, our corporate team is comprised 100% of real-life athletes who travel the country and world competing by day and scouring for the best products to Fuel Your Phenomenal by night. This means we’ve been fully remote for some time and are very fortunate to not have the additional challenge of converting to a remote environment during this already trying time.
With that, our team are excited to be sharing a weekly series on strength and mobility work that is already part of our regular routine and can be done from home. The series will include our favorite routines to strengthen the body, improve movement patterns and prevent injury to set you up for race season (when it eventually arrives).
What You Need to Get Started
Today, we’ll be talking about how to use the resistance bands found in your February/March Runner and Rider Box, to wake up and strengthen lazy glute muscles with 3 easy exercises. If you don’t have the bands on hand, find something elastic that can create some sort of resistance.
Why The Glutes?
Let’s start by talking about why we should care about activating our gluteal muscles. The glutes are primarily responsible for external femoral rotation, hip abduction and hip extension – all important functions for good running and cycling form. Strengthening and activating the glutes can help prevent injury by promoting better knee alignment and lateral stability while improving power by taking the burden off the quadriceps and distributing some of the load to the big, powerful, glutes. Plus,
If we had to choose one muscle group to train, it would have to be the glutes. The glutes are the largest, most powerful muscle group in the body. No other muscle group has as much impact on your performance.
Curious if your glutes are firing properly?
Try these tests:
- Stand on one leg with your eyes closed and your feet facing forward. If you can’t hold this position for at least 1 minute—and especially if you fall forward and toward the middle—your glutes aren’t working proper
- Jog or ride for a moment with your fingers pressing into your glutes, if you can’t feel the muscle contracting they’re probably not firing
Ok, let’s get these puppies firing and stronger!
- Complete 3-4 sets of these 3 exercises, with 60 seconds rest between sets.
- Start with the lightest strength band and work your way up over time.
Fire hydrants (12 reps each leg):
With the band around your upper leg, just above the knees, plant one foot into the ground, take a slight bend in the knee and rotate the femur of the opposite leg back and out at a 45 degree angle with the lower and upper leg forming a 90 degree angle- like a dog taking a whiz on a fire hydrant. Try to keep your hips pointing forward.
Skaters (12 reps each leg):
With the band around your ankles, start in the same position as the Fire Hydrants but sweep one foot back, with a mostly straight leg (make sure not to lock it out), at 45 degrees. Try to keep your hips pointing forward.
Monster Walks (10 sidesteps each direction, 20 total):
With the band around your feet, get into a slight squat. Walk sideways, keeping knees pointing straight and resisting the band with the trailing foot as the feet come back towards one another. 10 steps in one direction and then 10 steps in the other. Resist your knees from turning inwards.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Each movement should be done slowly to maintain control and increase time under tension. Also, for all exercises there should be a slight forward bend in the trunk and look to experience a burn in the glute muscles when doing these properly.
Alright Runner and RiderBox Fam: Stay Inside. Stay Motivated. Stay Moving.
**This article is not a prescription for injury rehabilitation, if you have an injury seek the attention of a physical therapist. Perform these exercises at your own risk.