Jason Fitzgerald, founder of online coaching service Strength Running, developed this routine after he was sidelined for six months in 2008 with a severe injury to his iliotibial band (IT band), the connective tissue that runs along the outside of the leg. He still does these moves weekly and recommends them to all the runners he coaches, because weak hips and glutes can cause IT band inflammation (which leads to knee pain) and other leg injuries. Do the seven exercises in a row without rest; it will take 10-15 minutes to complete the set.
1/ ONE-LEGGED SQUATS
Standing on one leg, slowly squat so your thigh is almost parallel to the ground. Keep your spine in a neutral position. Your knee should not collapse inward. Do five to 10 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
2/ LEG RAISES
Lie on your left side with a resistance band around your ankles. Lift your right leg about 45 degrees in a controlled manner, then lower. Do 30 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
Lie on your left side with your knees together and a resistance band around your lower thighs. Your knees should be bent 90 degrees, with your thighs at a 45-degree angle from your body. Keeping your pelvis still and your feet together, raise your right in a controlled manner. Do 30 reps, then switch sides.
4/ HIP THRUSTS
Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips, forming a straight line from shoulders to knees. Lift one leg so all your weight is on the other leg and your back. Lower your bum almost to the ground and thrust upward by activating your glutes. Do 25 reps on each leg.
With a resistance band around your ankles and your knees slightly bent, take 10 steps laterally. The band should be tight enough so it provides constant resistance. Facing the same direction, take another 10 steps back to your starting position. That’s one set; complete five sets.
6/ HIP HIKES
Stand on your right foot with your left leg slightly bent. Drop your left hip so it is several inches below your right hip. Activate your right hip muscle to lift your left hip back to its starting position. Do 20 reps, then switch sides.
7/ IRON CROSS
Lie on your back with your arms out to your sides and legs straight. Swing your right leg over your torso and up toward your left hand. Repeat with your left leg. That’s one rep; do 20.