1. Dead Bug + Banded Hip Flexion
This is a great bang for your buck exercise. The dead bug exercise teaches pelvic control and trains the abdominals to resist extension and protect the lower back. The banded hip flexion challenges the core even further and provides the added benefit of strengthening the hip flexors at the same time. Focus on keeping your lower back in contact with the ground (push your belly button into the ground), and hold each rep for 3-5 seconds on each side.
2. Standing Banded Hip Flexion
Here’s another great exercise for strengthening the hip flexors through their entire range of motion. Make sure you are using a band that allows for full hip flexion but is still challenging. Set up with a slight forward lean into the wall, brace the core to maintain optimal spinal position, and drive the knee as high as you can while flexing the foot. Hold each contraction for 3-5 seconds and control it on the way down to the floor.
3. Sled March
Most people have probably used the sled as a conditioning tool, but it can also be used to strengthen our running position. Start with a forward lean into the sled, keeping the shoulders, hips, and feet in one straight line. Initiate the movement with a big knee drive and then drive your foot into the ground. Think of each step as an individual rep and take a few seconds between each step.
4. Pallof Variations
A strong core is major component of good running form. Anti-rotational core movements will keep the body from swaying side to side as we run and expending extra energy. Find a distance where the band tension is challenging but still allows you to extend your arms straight out in front of you and maintain good form. Start with pallof holds, building up to 30 seconds on each side, and then into the pallof press where we are extending out, holding for a second, and then controlling the band back into the midline of the chest. This exercise can be done from a variety of stances including tall kneeling, ½ kneeling, standing, split stance, or a lunge position.
5. Copenhagen Hold
If you’ve ever suffered from a groin injury or tightness then this exercise is for you. The adductor or “groin” muscles run along the inner thigh and help stabilize the hip and pelvic region while also stabilizing the knee. The adductors often get neglected during training and are usually weaker than the other muscles of the lower body. Set up in a side plank with your top leg elevated on a bench or stool and focus on keeping your body in a straight line. Your shoulders, hips, knees, and feet should all be in line with each other. Just like a normal side plank, don’t let your hips drop and work up to holding this position for 30 seconds on each side. Focus on squeezing your legs together throughout the duration of the exercise. You can make this position a little easier by shortening the lever and setting up with your knee on the bench until you are able to handle keeping just your foot on the bench.