Keep Muscles “Loose and Strong”

This is one of the best pieces of advice my running guru, Hal Higdon, has ever given. And it is sooooooooo true. I know I write a lot on here about preventing and overcoming running injuries, but that’s just because it is something that I deal with. Past posts relating to training and preventing knee and hip pain while running include:

Practicing Good Running Form–Not Just For Newbies!

Conservative Care Is The Name Of The Game

11 Major Marathon Mistakes 

I’ve read a lot of blogs and comments lately about hip and knee pain and some ways to prevent it or remedy it. I most recently read some bloggers talk about going to a chiropractor or doing a host of other homeopathic remedies. While I don’t completely dismiss those attempts, I don’t think I promote them either. I have always believed–and will continue to believe–that preventing injuries and getting good running biomechanics comes from addressing the muscular imbalances in our bodies (as well as upping our running cadence to 180 and having a forefoot running gait). This only refers to strengthening and stretching muscles in our bodies so that we can have proper alignment while running.

For me this means strengthening my glutes (the gluteus medius) and hips so they hold my knees in alignment and stretching my hip flexors so they don’t misalign my legs. Both need to happen otherwise there is no balance. You can imagine how having tight hip flexors can pull on your pelvis to “drop” while running and how strong glutes can counteract this pull and keep everything aligned.

This guy is a little cheesy, but I found this video that has some glute strengthening exercises (the most important thing to remember is that these are isolation exercises and it’s not like you are “strength training”). He also does a good job explaining why it is important to strengthen the gluteus medius:

Overall, I know how difficult it is to keep that balance between strengthening muscles and keeping them loose and flexible. Currently, I am working hard on my glute exercises that my PT has given me but I already feel some minor Piriformis creeping because my glute muscles have become too tight 😦

So I’m still struggling to find that balance between strength and flexibility. Any thoughts about achieving this would be greatly appreciated!!!

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5 Responses to Keep Muscles “Loose and Strong”

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