The best part about running, is that all that you need is a pair of running shoes and the desire to run. Before you hit the pavement, master these strength movements, to make sure that you’re minimizing your risk of injury, and running with your best possible form.
Lie on on the ground, face down. Place your forearms on the floor, shoulders stacked over elbows. Exhale, and pull your belly button to your spine. Push your body up, creating a straight line between your heels and your shoulders. Squeeze your glutes and make sure your body is in a straight line with your hips down. No arching or rounding your back. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, breathing throughout and relaxing shoulders, while you tighten your core.
Modification: start with 10 to 30 seconds and build up to 60 seconds.
Lie on your back, with your knees bent, and feet on floor, hip distance apart. Wriggle your shoulders back and down, under your body. Arms "V" away from body, while shoulders remain packed down, away from ears. Exhale, and pull belly button to spine. Push hips up towards ceiling. Squeeze butt muscles and let your abs drop into place. Continue to breathing, pulling abs in, while squeezing glutes. Hold 30-60 seconds.
If you feel tension in your lower back or neck, start with modified range of motion and modified time.
Single-Leg (SL) Glute Bridge: 1st Progression
Bring your feet together, and squeeze your knees together, activating your inner thighs. Exhale and pull belly button to spine, as you push your hips up. Continue to squeeze inner thighs and butt muscles. Let abs fall in. Wait 10 seconds, then lift one leg & hold for 5 to 30 seconds per leg. Repeat 2 intervals, totaling 10 to 60 seconds.
The next progression is to create a slight distance between the knees, and utilize the deep, intrinsic stabilizers to keep the hips level, during the SL Glute Bridge.
Start in a standing position with feet together. Put one foot backward; rise up onto the ball of the rear foot. Distribute weight evenly throughout lower body. Lower body straight downward (not forward), bending the knee almost to the floor without touching it. Keep shoulders over hips. Inhale on the way down, exhale on the way up. As you push through the front heel, activate the front glute as the main “agonist” or prime mover. Do not lurch forward, on the way up, nor allow knee to move forward, beyond front toe. Make sure you do not go too low. Do this in all planes of motion: forward, out to 45 degree angle, lateral/sideways, transverse, back to 45 degrees, and end with a reverse lunge.
Explosive Lunges (Progression)
Start in a standing position with feet together. Put one foot backward, as in the standing lunge, lowering the knee almost to the floor. Rather than bringing the back foot forward to meet the front foot again, push into the front leg and explode the back leg forward and upward to a 90 degree angle: jumping straight up. As you land, bring the back leg to the floor behind you again. Repeat for 10 reps, each side.
Starting in a standing position with feet hips distance apart, squat down as though sitting onto a chair, with knees stacked above your ankles. Arms should be raised overhead with palms facing in. Lower to 90 degrees, then return to standing position, pushing through your heels to engage your glutes as you stand. Focus on keeping the core engaged and upper body upright, with knees pointed forward.
Squat Jump (Progression)
Similar to the squat, but instead of standing up from a 90 degree squatting position, fire the glutes and push through the feet to jump into the air, pushing from heels to toes. Arms come to the front of the body as you squat down, and move down and out as you jump into the air. Pack your shoulders back and engage your core, as you exhale on the way up. Land on the balls of your feet and slowly roll back into the heels, distributing the force of gravity throughout your entire foot, while you are returning to a squat position. Inhale on the way down, and exhale on the way up. Repeat 5 to 15 times. Stop if you feel any pain.
Using a looped resistance band, place band around the ankles. Slightly bend the knees into a half squat, and step out to the side laterally, leading with the left foot and following with the right. Keep the resistance on the band and a bend in the knees the whole time. Focus on keeping the core engaged and not letting the knees collapse in. Repeat for 20 feet in each direction.
Come into a high plank position, with the hands flat on the floor stacked underneath your shoulders. Think about keeping your belly button pulled into your spine, especially as your exhale. Engage the core and squeeze your glutes. Head neutral and shoulders relaxed. Lower your body, in one line, down to the ground, while inhaling. Then, push back up into a high plank without letting the hips drop. Exhale on the way up. Repeat 5 to 10 reps, or to fatigue.
If you can’t perform a full push-up, drop down to your knees for modified push-ups and repeat as many reps as possible with good form, engaging your core. Be sure to keep your neck neutral, do not drop your head, or compress your neck.