5 Hip-strengthening Exercises Every Runner Should Do

I wanted to show you the most effective hip strengthening exercises for runners.

CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube video.

#1 – Single-leg Glute Bridge

Lie on your back with hands on the side. Relax your upper body. Bend the knees and tighten your abdominal area. Lift your hips up and straighten out one leg, hold that top position for a couple of seconds, bring the leg back, and then drop your hips down. Relax and repeat the movement to the opposite leg.

Single-leg Glute Bridge

Perform one set of 5 reps in a smooth, controlled movement with two seconds hold at the top position. The intensity can be light to moderate.

The purpose of this exercise is to retarget the abdominal areas, glutes, and hip stability, which is helpful for runners.


#2 – Donkey Kick

Start in a four-point kneeling position. Maintain proper alignment in the hips, shoulders and head. Tighten your abdominal area. Lift one leg up and bend the knee to 90 degrees. Ideally, the knee is in line with the hip. Bring the leg down and repeat the movement to the opposite leg.

Donkey Kick

Perform one set of 5 reps in a smooth, controlled movement with one second hold at the top position. The intensity is light.

This exercise targets the core, glutes and hamstrings. These are important areas for runners to be strong in order to improve performance and prevent or overcome injuries.


#3 – Side-lying Hip Abduction

Lie down on your side with one arm overhead and rest your head on that arm. Maintain proper alignment in the upper body. Bend the knee slightly to prevent from rocking back and forth. Tighten the abdominal area and lift one leg up for about 30 to 45 degrees. Minimize the hip movement. Bring the leg down, relax and repeat the movement.

Side-lying Hip Abduction

Perform one set of 5 reps in a smooth, controlled movement with a good stop at the top position. The intensity is light.

The purpose of this exercise is to target the core abdominal area ― the gluteus medius ― one of the smallest gluteal muscles in the outer hip, which is very important in providing stability and support in the side-to-side movement.

When you’re running, this gluteal muscle prevents your hips from rocking side to side, which puts unnecessary stress on the hips and knees.


#4 – Bird Dog Exercise

Start in a four-point kneeling position. Maintain proper alignment in the head, shoulders and hips. Tighten the abdominal area. Extend your left leg behind you while reaching your right arm forward. Go to the point where you are straight from the wrist to the ankle. Go to the start position, relax and repeat the movement to the opposite side.

Bird Dog Exercise

Perform one set of 5 reps on each side, alternating back and forth in a smooth, controlled movement with a good stop at the top position. The intensity is light.

This exercise targets the muscles around the shoulder blades, hips areas, glutes and hamstrings. The purpose of this exercise is to work on the abdominal area at a different angle more on a cross angle. It also works on stabilizing the muscles on the shoulder blades and glutes with the alternating arm and leg movement, which is important in running.


#5 – Forward Lunge Knee Driver

Begin in an upright standing position with hands on the hip to help with balance. Take a step forward with one leg and lunge forward, and then move into knee driver by raising one knee up.

Forward Lunge Knee Driver

Perform one set of 5 reps on each side in a smooth, controlled movement with a slow pause at the end of the movement. The intensity can be light to moderate.

The purpose of this exercise is to work on the stability of the ankle, the knee, and the muscles around the hips and pelvis areas.

Give these five exercises a go. They are excellent hip strengthening exercises for runners.

If you want to overcome or prevent back and lower body injuries, then check out the Gluteus Medius Exercises program.

Take care!

Rick Kaselj, MS