GLUTE + CORE ACTIVATION WARM UP FOR RUNNERS
About a month out from NYC Marathon I strained my hamstring. In my over dramatic words, "I blew it out." It had been feeling weird for a couple days, and I took one stride into a big workout and got a big NO. Limped the three miles back to the car, unable to jog.
. Short story: I had to deal with my lazy ass (or more accurately, my lazy glutes + core).
Unengaged glutes is a common problem among distance runners, couple that with limited time because of training, and the problem compounds. My excuses included: there's no time to strength train, there's no time to warm up, there's no time to cool down... but guess who has lots of time? Injured runners.
This warm up (in part) turned me around in time for NYC Marathon, and has become a staple. Gone are the days I go from sitting at my desk for 5 hours, to lacing up and running out the door. Stop, drop, bridge. Even if I only hit 10 reps of each, it's better than nothing. When I was dead set on somehow getting to the New York starting line, this warmup would take me around :30. Adjust accordingly. Everything here is classic, standard, but powerful when you do it everyday.
10 each side
You can do this on all fours on your mat/towel/floor, or use the wall. To set up at the wall get your elbow on the wall, arm at 90 degrees, lean in a smidge. Spine should be neutral (between cat and cow), engage your core and ....
hurdle an imaginary hurdle, knee up, open to the side (only as high as you can go while holding form ... see below for my fail). 10 forward, 10 back. Switch!
20 - 30 total
You know it! You love it! It's bird dog. Here's the dealio though, I was doing this like a lazy arsed runner. My PT challenged me to check in on my form by balancing a roller on my low back. Core on! Booty leads!
At least :60
Again, a classic, but when you really check in and let your booty lead, it's a game changer. I warm up into this slower some days then others. Use your hands and feel the bottom of your glute to make sure it's firing, that it's leading. Once you're set up, march it out. Small movements, don't slip, engage glutes!
SINGLE LEG BRIDGE LIFT
25 each side
One leg goes to 90, hold! Core on. And let your glutes alone bring your body up and down. Take breaks to get that glute isolated. Every other muscle will try to help. I always hit 25 each side.
If you have trouble really isolating your glutes, take the time to line up your form and feel the difference. Hold a yoga block between your ankles, strap around the strongest part of your legs. Hold the block, put pressure in on it and push out against the strap while lifting your hips. Hello booty.
20 - 30 total
First set it up, neutral spine. A little space under the curve should stay the entire time. Engage the core and alternate arm/leg extension on the breath out. Never let the bent leg dangle or come farther than 90 degrees.
If you have time do this entire sequence 2 or 3 times. But I truly believe in consistency over long sessions. It would be more impactful to do this everyday for 10 minutes than once a week for :30 minutes. This series is such a habit to me I would sooner go out the door without my shoes than without hitting it.
I also have a strength routine centered around these weaknesses, will publish soon! And if you have weak glutes, that aren't firing hit
3 x a week. It's so, so, so good.