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The LAST Speed Workout Warm-Up You'll Need: for Runners with Stubbornly Tight, Aching Hips

Speed work is fun and games UNTIL...

your hips start to bind up and get tight half way through


OR


you're running speedwork on the other side another workout day because you're purposely training on dead legs.


Either way: the legs are not so speedy.

And the hips are not so buttery.


I did this recently, although in a little slightly different order:

Speed work day.

Heavy leg strength day.

Long run.


But it was confirmed by a conversation with another runner on threads: the order didn't matter all that much:

Dead legs and tight hips were on the menu.


BUT...

They don't have to be for you ANYMORE


After living through (and waddling through) that experience, I put together a rather intense and spicy hip mobility routine, specifically for speed work in mind...

but also for PEEK WEEK, when you're pushing your body to the limits while at the same time, trying to keep it duct-tapped together.


This hip circuit will be one you'll want to keep bookmarked.

Did I mention it's another MEGA-CIRCUIT?


Let's jump in.



HIP WARM UP FOR SPEED WORK

Circuit:

2-3 rounds as needed // light-medium weights


Army Crawl with Hip pumps + Army Crawl with Reach and Glute Lift: 2 parts

  • Part 1 Army Crawl with Hip Pumps: 10 reps each side

  • Part 2 Army Crawl with Reach and Glute Lifts: 5-8 reps ea side


90-90 Shin Box with Frog Bridge Sit Up with Overhead Weight

  • 10 Reps X medium-effort weight (ex: 10lbs plate)


Crab with Hip Cross Overs/Unders

  • 10 Reps ea side (option: to break these up into separate parts)

Frog Sit up with Reach and Overhead Weight

  • 10 Reps ea side X medium effort weight (ex: 8-10lbs)


FASTER SPEED WORK with SMOOTHER, MOBILE HIPS

Army Crawl with Hip pumps + Army Crawl with Reach and Glute Lift: 2 PARTS


  • Once you do them, you'll understand and FEEL how they fit together

  • PART 1: I know, it looks insanely simple. Humor me anyway. Actively working into hip internal rotation (a specific hip movement) is what opens up tight hips and helps you run faster without injuries. Think of this as a "primer" exercise to remind your body HOW to access this internal rotation that you're going to be using during your speed work.

  • THE SECRET is PART 2: LIFT the bent leg/knee off the ground while raising and REACHING with the opposite arm. This is hard, isn't it? (well, it will be for some of us). What you're doing here is continuing to work, engage, and activate the glute muscles you'll need for your run. First we created mobility; now we're doubling down and immediately adding in stability.

  • But did you know you can increase glute activation by simultaneously using the OPPOSITE shoulder blade muscles? Don't believe me? Try lifting that bent knee/leg off the ground without reaching. How does it feel?


90-90 Shin Box with Frog Bridge Sit Up with Overhead Weight


  • This is NOT for the faint of heart! If you need to rest between reps, that's ok.

  • Adding weight, or load, is a great way to actively help improve hip mobility, but it can also make an exercise harder.

  • THE KEY: keep PUSHING that weight overhead! Don't just hold it; actively try to lift the weight towards the ceiling or sky. Your hips and core talk to each other...a lot. And occasional major hip flexors like to take over some stability jobs that belong to your core. This can be a huge reason for tight and tired hip flexors that don't seem to respond to constant stretching.

  • By adding the weight overhead, we engage your core, while you work through both hip rotations (external and internal), and remind your hip flexors they're not supposed to act like core muscles and they need to let up.

  • BONUS POINT: You might have great, full hip mobility but if you have muscle-teammates doing the wrong job, you can still end up with cranky, tight, stiff hips.


Crab with Hip Cross Overs/Unders


  • I know these look dumb. And I know they feel weird. But hear me out...

  • THE TRUTH: NONE of the movement or motion of this exercise is NEW compared to everything you've just done above. All I'm doing is changing the position you're doing it in. And trust me: my body still occasionally struggle buses with this.

  • THE REASON to KEEP DOING IT: it gets smoother. You're training your body to rotate around your hip joint in an exaggerated way very similar to how you use it while running.

  • Consider this more of a brain-hip joint and muscle connection exercise. I care about you noticing if it's DIFFERENT side to side or feels fairly equal. If you're like me, and one side feels harder to coordinate (or feels straight up weak like you can't do it), this is a SIGN to pay attention to your single leg strength work. Are you consistent? Are you lifting heavy enough? Are you adding in glute exercises? This exercise knows things...


Frog Sit up with Reach and Overhead Weight


  • The Money Maker...

  • PRO TIP: It's cool when I hear from runners they really enjoy how strong this exercise makes them feel. And it does: it actively puts together all the hip motions you've been working on and invites your glutes and core to party by adding in the weight overhead. (extra tidbit: the motion you're doing with your arms is called a "lift")

  • THE REASON FOR THE WEIGHT: creating 100% perfect hip mobility or range of motion doesn't do jack for you if you can't hold on to it. (you know this if you're a chronic hip-stretcher.)

  • By sprinkling in activating exercises throughout this circuit that use your glute and core, you're "hitting save on the document", keeping your hip mobility gains and reminding your hip joint where it's supposed to live, even while chasing tempo paces.

WRAPPING UP

REPEAT AFTER ME: Buttery smooth hips are NOT A MYTH!


...at least not after THIS mega hip circuit.


Let's say you're a chronic hip-stretcher with hip flexors that won't let up and things get notably worse during peak week/month especially with speed work...


I have special instructions for YOU.

Do this entire circuit 2 times before your speed workout.

And 2 times after.


What we're doing: sandwiching high intensity activity with correctives exercises.


aka: reminding your hips, hip flexors, and core muscles, "hey, you live HERE!" both before and after the hard stuff.


Do you notice that your hips and all the surrounding muscles feel better after a particular one of these exercises?

Take this exercise and run with it! Treat it like your "movement-advil".

If you notice that later in the day that stiffness and achiness is coming back, finish your day with that one exercise! (you don't always have to do the full circuit).


Finding one movement, one exercise, that helps "reset" everything is part of the process of keeping tight hips away FOR GOOD!


If you LOVED this blog and circuit, I have something else you're going to die for: RACE READY, my 16 week strength program for the marathon runner who wants to run better, stronger, and even maybe faster... but definitely more injury-resilient.


These exercises are just a taste of what's on the inside.


It's time you GET ON THAT RACE READY WAITLIST so you don't miss a thing. :)


But in case you want a bigger sample, check out my 14 Day Stronger Runner Challenge; it's a mini-Race Ready where I lead you through 14 days of strength circuits designed for runners by a runner and a PT.


Until next time, running fit fam...


Dare to Train Differently,

Marie Whitt, PT, DPT //@dr.whitt.fit


P.S. RACE READY WAITLIST gets early access to the 5 spots available this round for FALL MARATHON SEASON. Don't be on the outside looking in!

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