Address the essentials

As we discuss with our patients and runners, the calf, along with the hip flexor are the muscle groups that work the hardest when running. The next in line are the quads, glutes, hamstrings and adductors. However because the calf and hip flexor are the main propulsive muscles used when running, other muscle groups should not be neglected when planning strength and conditioning programs.

Now that we are in the middle of the winter months, it is common to find runners are completing larger volumes of training in preparation for events such as the Melbourne Marathon. We find that from the months of June to August runners present to us with the common complaints knee or hip pain. Often these symptoms build and worsen over time, causing runners to seek professional advice. Generally what we tend to find is that these runners have forgotten to:

1. Address muscles that stabilise the hip and knee in the pre-season
2. Allow for periods of training adaptations  
3. Change the load by completing different sessions (types, distance, speeds and gradient)

Therefore today Thestride will take you through 3 simple and effective exercises we sometimes prescribe to help prevent the onset of some overuse injuries.

  • Side Leg lift
  • Wall Clam
  • Hip Hike

Side Leg Lift:

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  • Hip forward (pelvis in neutral)
  • Hand on hip
  • Think long with the leg to place more emphasis on the hip
  • Lift leg to midline so foot is at the same level of the hip
  • Leg slightly extended

Wall Clam:
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  • Body up against a wall
  • Hand on your hip for feedback
  • Heel lines up with hip and shoulder
  • Hip slightly forward
  • Hip rotates externally and slowly returns to the midline

Hip Hikes:

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  • Standing on a phone book with one leg suspended
  • Hips are level
  • Push down through your mid-foot to lift your pelvis
  • Once feeling your lateral pelvic muscles engage return your hips back to the starting position


As effective as these exercises can be to change people’s pain and running patterns, it is important to remember that every runner’s presentation and symptoms will be different. Therefore, these exercises should not be considered as a one size fits all and should be implemented under the guidance of a allied health professional with experience in running.

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