Friday, July 27, 2012

My new hips/glutes strengthening routine

Although I do not think that my ITB problems has much to do with my hips/glutes (I think it is caused by my running stride. Although I admit, I might be mistaken. It is probably a combination.) since there is all the rahrah about the benefits of strong core/glutes/hips I recently started with strengthening exercises again. But little differently than before. 

I did the usual glutes/hip strengthening exercises as part of physical therapy for 2 months and my ITB never improved. Than another PT told me that exercises I have been told to do were not really efficient because they were not translating into running. I did new exercises that were supposed to translate into running but did not see any improvement as far as ITB goes or improvement as “feeling stronger” goes.
So I have pretty much given up on doing them because I did not see any benefits. I have been primarily working on changing my stride and it seemed to do the trick, my ITB has been more or less happy since March. But a few weeks ago I read an article about ITB with pictures showing why/how dropping a hip while running causes the ITB to get pissed. And all those nice pictures and visualization kind of made me think that there is something in that theory and therefore I have decided that I will try again. And even if they do not help with my stupid ITB having strong hips/glutes is still supposed to be good for you.
However because I did not see any difference (and I really mean NO difference at all) with traditional exercises as walking sideways with rubber bands, clamps, or different leg lifting I have come up with my own exercises. I wanted them to transfer to running/walking. And what’s the better way than do use everyday activities as exercises. 

So basically my “routine” is like this:
I am always super conscious about how I walk up the stairs (do not let a hip sink as I step up, use core/glutes/hips to keep hips leveled), force the step from hips.

I am also super conscious about how I stand (engaging core) and if I do something that requires standing on one leg, even if it is for a second, do not let the hip opposite to the leg I stand on drop. 

Tying my shoes standing on one leg, engaging the hip stabilizer of the leg I stand on so it does not pop out making the other hip sink. This was little hard at first but this is where I see the most improvement. Now it is quite easy to keep hip nicely stabilized without too much effort whereas before it had to force the hip not to pop out. (And yes, I tie my shoes standing, I never sit down and now I almost always do it standing on one leg whereas before I usually just bend down.) And if I bend over to tie the shoes I still engage the hips so they stay aligned.

Basically every everyday activity that I know requires some obvious hips action (because I guess everything requires hips action but I am concentrating on those where I can feel it) I try to perform so that it engages my glues and keeps hips in a correct position. 

And I must say that I have seen some improvements in my hip strength doing these “exercises”. What felt hard at the beginning does not feel that hard anymore. Also I had to concentrate hard on keeping the hips leveled because one always popped out and the other dropped whereas now I can keep them stabilized without thinking about it too much. Hopefully I will soon get to the point when my hips will be strong enough to stay leveled all the time without my brain telling them to do so. 

I honestly do not know whether it makes me a faster runner but hopefully it does. And hopefully it will help me to keep ITB happy for the future. 

I booked my flight and hotel in London. I am going to stay 2 days only though, Sat and Sun and see women’s tri on Sat and women’s marathon on Sunday and spend the rest walking around and soaking in the atmosphere. Unfortunately I did not know before that I will be able to go so almost all tickets are gone for Slovakia. There is one for athletic for Friday evening left, for 150£, but there is only one event that interests me happening that night - women’s 10 000 and even that does not interest me enough to pay that much. So I will just go for two days and watch free tri and marathon. I wish it was cheaper to get to London because I would love to go to see bike races and canoe slaloms. But honestly, tri and marathon are the two events that interest me the most so it is perfect timing and I am not complaining!!!! And I am going to take some pictures this time!

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