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The six best ex­er­cises to strengthen your hips, knees and an­kles

Runner's World (UK) - - BODY+MIND -

EX­PERTS AGREE that one of the most im­por­tant things a run­ner can do to pre­vent joint pain is to incorporate strength work into our train­ing rou­tine. Strength­en­ing ex­er­cises con­di­tion mus­cles, ten­dons, bone and car­ti­lage so that they can bet­ter tol­er­ate the stress of run­ning. The ex­er­cises here, from phys­io­ther­a­pist Mark Temme, work the mus­cles that sup­port your hip, knee and an­kle joints. Temme pre­scribes sin­gle-leg ex­er­cises to run­ners be­cause ‘run­ning is a series of one-legged squats’, he says. ‘You’ve got to strengthen your legs in a way that has a func­tional carry-over to your sport.’ He rec­om­mends do­ing this rou­tine two or three times a week. Once you can do these ex­er­cises with proper form, add some weight. Temme says that run­ners should work up to be­ing able to do six to eight rep­e­ti­tions with a weight that is heavy enough so that the last few rep­e­ti­tions in a set are dif­fi­cult. This helps mimic the stress placed on the body while run­ning.

SIDE PLANK

Start on your left side. Tighten your abs and lift your hips up. Hold for 30 sec­onds, then re­lax. Switch sides and re­peat, aim­ing for five reps on each side.

MAKE IT HARDER Lift your top leg while in the plank po­si­tion.

SIN­GLE-LEG LUNGE

Stand in front of a chair and place your left foot on it. Squat un­til your right thigh is par­al­lel with the ground. Be­gin­ners should start with 10 reps (on each side), work­ing up to 20 rep­e­ti­tions.

MAKE IT HARDER Hold dumb­bells.

SIN­GLE-LEG DEAD LIFT

Stand on your left leg. Keep­ing your back straight, bend for­ward and reach for the ground. Re­turn to stand­ing and re­peat. Start with 10 reps (on each side), with the goal of work­ing up to 20 reps.

MAKE IT HARDER Hold dumb­bells.

SIN­GLE-LEG CALF RAISE

Stand on your right leg – feel free to touch a chair for bal­ance. Slowly lift up onto your toes, then lower. Start with 10 reps and work up to 30 on each leg.

MAKE IT HARDER Once you can do 30 reps on each leg with good form, hold dumb­bells.

SIN­GLE-LEG BRIDGE

Lie with knees bent, arms ex­tended out. Straighten one leg. Tighten your glutes and lift your hips. Hold for a few secs, then lower. Aim for 25 reps on each leg.

MAKE IT HARDER Once you can do 25 reps on each leg, fold your arms across your chest.

SIDE LEG LIFT

Lie on your side, legs ex­tended out. Slowly raise and lower your right leg. Do not al­low your pelvis to roll for­ward or back­ward. Aim for 30 reps on each side.

MAKE IT HARDER Once you can do 30 reps with proper form, wear an­kle weights.

Make sure you do not try to do too many rep­e­ti­tions in the early weeks. Take your time.

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