Trail running throws a variety of terrain at runners from sand and rocks to holes and tree roots. And that constant change can make it difficult to hold onto a specific pace, especially those who are more comfortable running on the road.
Why can some trail runners fly right past you up those rocky hills? A lot of has to do with their hip, core and glute stability.
You can make some significant improvements on your running form and speed as well as prevent injury by adding a running-specific strength routine to your workouts.
By targeting the hips, glutes and core, your running strength, balance and turnover rate will improve, particularly on uneven surfaces such as trails. Over time, your running gait will be more even, and you'll be able to handle undulating terrain, steep hills and trail obstacles with ease.
This workout is meant to burn. You should feel these exercises by the end of each circuit. As you get stronger, increase the reps of each set and decrease the amount of total rest in between circuits for maximum results.
What Is TRX?1 of 8
The TRX Suspension Training System, which these days can be rented at most gyms, is an efficient way to get your strength, agility and balance workouts done simultaneously. If you've never used one before, take the time to learn from a trainer how to properly set it up and adjust the straps. It will make your entire workout smoother and faster.
If you don't have access to a suspension trainer of any kind, you can follow this routine without the straps and just focus on your own balance; you can hold onto a wall for support as needed. Paper plates or fitness towels can also be substituted for the TRX system in the final exercise (the alternating leg curl).
15-Minute TRX Hip and Glute Stability Workout For Trail Runners2 of 8
Equipment needed: TRX Suspension Training System Do the following exercise as a circuit. Move through the recommended reps of each exercise with minimal rest in between. Once you've completed the circuit, rest one minute and then begin the circuit again. Do this entire circuit three times.
Squats (15 reps)3 of 8
Stand facing the TRX, holding the handles with your feet slightly more than hip-distance apart. Keeping the TRX tight but not overly relying on the handles for balance, squat up and down.
Don't go past the 90-degree mark with your knees until you feel you're properly warmed up (probably not until the second or third circuit). Focus on keeping your weight in your heels and exhale as you lift up, pulling your core in tight.
Pistol squats (10 reps/leg)4 of 8
Stand facing the TRX, holding the handles. Extend your right leg out as straight as you can and lower down into a one-legged squat position on your left leg. It's important to keep your weight in your heels on this exercise. Use your breath to help lift you back up to the start position, pulling your core in tight with each repetition. Do 10 reps and then switch legs to complete the set.
Curtsy Lunges (10 reps/side)5 of 8
Stand facing the TRX, holding the handles with your feet hip-distance apart. Reach your left leg behind and to the side of your right leg as you lower into a squat position.
Make sure you keep the handles tight during the entire lunge, balancing through your abs. Bring your left leg back to start to complete one rep. Do 10 reps on one side and then switch sides to repeat with your right leg.
Runner's (Suspended) Lunge (10 reps/leg)6 of 8
Stand with your back to the TRX with both handles looped through your left leg. Keeping your right leg in a 90-degree squat position and pulling your abs in tight, lift and lower your left leg, mimicking a running stride.
Do this slowly to start until you feel comfortable with your balance. Complete 10 reps and then repeat on your left side. Make sure to engage your abs and keep your weight in the heels. Look forward and not down to align your head with the spine.
Leg Curls (Alternating) (20 reps total)7 of 8
Lie on the ground with your heels slipped into the TRX handles and your arms resting at your sides. Lift up into a bridge position and then alternate, bringing one heel in toward your seat and then the other. Hold in your abs tight and try to keep your bridge nice and high, with a flat back. Complete 20 reps total before lowering back down to the floor.
Note: For the paper plate/towel version, place one foot on each towel or plate, lift up into a bridge and then alternate sliding your heels toward your seat.