How often should I do running hip strength exercises?
In practice I regularly get asked how often hip strength and stability exercises should be completed.
The regularity with which you complete hip strength exercises for your running will depend on four factors. They are:
- The degree of your hip stability.If you have relatively weak hip stability muscles I recommend that the runner completes strength exercises as close to daily as possible.Daily completion of the exercises will allow the runner to progress through the stages of muscle activation, strength and endurance in the shortest amount of time. I have observed significant activation and early strength gains being made by runners in as little as two to three weeks. Developing greater strength, and endurance of the hip stability muscles tends to occur between three and six weeks.I often give runners a two-week challenge to improve their hip stability when they have sub-par scores on testing. After two weeks, the frequency of completing these exercises can often reduce to three to four times per week, providing appropriate scores are achieved at the time of retesting.
- Your injury profile.If you are injured or recovering from injury, daily completion of the exercises is ideal. Daily completion of the exercises will assist with building early momentum in your rehabilitation. Given that most running injuries have a significant contribution coming from hip stability deficits, anything less than daily completion will only serve to delay rehabilitation outcomes, and a return to normal running. Once the injury is under control, the frequency of completion may shift from daily completion back to several times per week.
- Your level of training.Just as a rehabilitating runner needs to complete hip stability exercises daily, so too will a runner in heavy training. Quite simply, the further you intend to run, the more frequently you should aim to complete hip strengthening exercises. Heavy training may incorporate higher intensity training sessions, or greater weekly running volume. Either way, the runner in heavy training is wise to increase the frequency of their hip stability exercises in order to keep pace with the greater demands being placed on their body. For example, a runner aiming to complete an upcoming marathon should aim for daily completion of these exercises, whereas a runner aiming to complete a 5 or 10 kilometre event may complete the exercises two to three times per week.
- Your motivation and desire to experience pain and injury-free, and faster running.The more motivated you are, the more likely you will be to get these exercises completed. Simple. A maxim that I regularly share in practice with my clients is that when it comes to hip stability exercises ‘consistency beats frequency’. What I mean by this is, it is of little benefit for a runner to be initially enthused about completing their hip stability exercises, only to then not follow through beyond one or two weeks of frequent completion.
Have fun with your running and run strong!
P.S Here are four running hip strength exercises runners can benefit from click HERE.>>
Yours in running,
Brad Beer (APAM)
Physiotherapist, Author You CAN Run Pain Free!, Founder POGO Physio