Runners are known for tight hip flexor muscle and weak butt muscles. In addition to doing a little stretching on the font side of the body, this little session is a great way to keep your butt strong (hello hills). Super bonus: you can do this on the trails in the middle of your run!
Exercise 1: Butt Warmup
Stand with your feet about a comfortable distance apart, left leg forward, right leg back. Lift your right arm toward the sky so that you feel a stretch in your right hip flexor.
Squeeze your Butt - Simply try to squeeze/flex your butt muscle. Putting your (left) hand on the top of your butt may help you feel and engage this muscle. Repeat 10-15 times.
Switch sides and repeat.
Exercise 2: Forward Lunge
Start standing in a neutral position. Both feet equally weighted and shoulder distance apart.
Prime the Glute - Stand on your right foot and lift your left knee so your thigh is parallel to the floor. This “opens” your left glute.
Lunge - Dynamically step forward with your left leg, landing with your heel under your knee.
Return - Press from your left heel as you push your self back up to the neural starting position. Pushing through the heel is what will engage your glute muscles over your quadriceps.
Repeat - Do 10-15 repetitions with your left leg before you switch to your right side.
Exercise 3: Step Ups
Find a chair, bench, tree stump or anything that is about knee height. A little bit shorter is easier, taller is harder. This is also a great exercise for balance and core.
Place Your Leg - Put your right foot on the chair, with your knee over your heel.
Engage and rise - Push down strongly through your right heel as you lift your body weight until it’s standing fully on your right leg. Really try not to “push off” or “boost” from your left leg as you rise.
Return - slowly lower yourself back to neutral position with your left leg on the ground and your right foot still on the chair.
Repeat - repeat 10-15 times on your right side before switching to your left.
Exercise 4: Squats
Position yourself with your feet hip distance apart and your toes just slightly hidden under the edge of the chair so you can’t see them when you look down at your feet.
Engage - Energetically push your feet outward so that you feel engagement in the side of your hips. Think about trying to stretch a carpet with your feet or pressing your needs apart against the pressure of a rubber strap.
Squat - Slowly bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your knees should stay above your heels (having your toes under the edge of the chair will remind you of this - don’t let your knees touch the chair).
Return - Slowly rise to standing. Keep your legs pushing outward.
Repeat - repeat 10-15 times.
Exercise 5: Backward Lunge + Curtsy
Start in a neutral standing position, with your weight on your right foot.
Lunge - Step your left foot back into a backward lunge. Your right knee should bend but stay directly above your heel and your right thigh should be parallel to the floor.
Return - Return to standing by pushing strongly down through your right heel.
Curtsy - Step your left foot back and across behind your right foot so you’re in a ‘curtsy’ position. Your right knee should be above your right heel and your right thigh parallel to the floor.
Return - Return to standing by pushing strongly down through the right heel.
Repeat - Repeat both the lunge and curtsy 4-6 times on your right side before switching sides.