Kites fly highest against the wind...not with it.

Welcome to day 9 of the challenge. We have another activation session today with Ashley, beginning with a Faber test, which looks at the level of flexibility and rotation within your hips. This test is great when assessing any runners mobility and running technique.

The Faber Test

Lie flat on your back. Cross one leg over the other straight leg and relax your hip letting the the knee drop to the floor.

After around 30s measure the space between your knee and the floor. You can measure with a measuring stick or use your fists and fingers for a generalisation. It would make it easier for someone else to measure for you. Repeat on the other side. Keep a mental note of your measurement.

Activation session

Elevated toe hip hinge: Place the midline of your toe onto the side of a yoga block or book to elevate the toe. With a proud chest, straight back and straight legs hip hinge forward to stretch the front foot. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat again.

True pigeon on block: Begin with two yoga blocks running alongside the left side of the yoga mat. Slide your right knee forward so that the thigh bone and knee are directly in front of its hip socket. Comfortably align the right heel over towards the left hip without letting the knee slide to the side. Check the back leg and make sure you are on the top of the knee and thigh, your foot is laying flat and the leg is in line with its own hip socket as well. Hold this position for one minute. If you’re able, you can also hip hinge forward, bring a proud chest towards your front leg. Repeat with your other leg.

Hip swivels: Sitting on the ground, have your feet out wider than hip, bring both knees down to one side, making sure that your feet are grounded. Smoothly transition the knees to the other side and create a smooth motion between the two sides for around x20 repetitions.

Frog pulses: Start by placing Laying flat and bring the knees out wider than the hips and then place both feet directly behind the position of each knee. Start to move slowly and gently back and forth, as you push your hips back, you will feel a stretch within the groin area. Aim to push down and back to open the hip further. Aim for 3 minutes pulsing back and forth. 

Adductor pulses: Start with both knees on the mat. Straighten one leg out to the side and keep the other leg bent. Push the hips back to connect one glute (your bum) to the back of the foot and then push back to the starting position. Aim for x15 repetitions then repeat on your other leg. 

Aeroplane hip lifts:Start by being a step away from a wall. Lift one leg up high and place it behind you. Tilt your hips so they open. As you hold the leg as high as you can, begin to push your arms away from the wall in front of you. Aim for only fingertips to be touching the wall. You may feel both glutes cramp or other parts of the leg feeling tight, these areas should be where you should foam roll or myofascial trigger point out. Hold for around x20 seconds and aim for x5 sets on one side, then repeat on the other side.

Weighted squats: Set your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Add a weight that you consider heavy onto your chest. With a straight back and open shoulders, squat down while ensuring your knees are pushed out and at a 90 degree angle. At the bottom of the exercise, squeeze your glutes and pause for a moment. Strongly push back up to the starting position, mirroring the descent. Keep your upper core engaged. Drive the energy through the heels to the glutes, aim for x 20 sets x 3.

Activation session

Elevated toe hip hinge: Place the midline of your toe onto the side of a yoga block or book to elevate the toe. With a proud chest, straight back and straight legs hip hinge forward to stretch the front foot. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat again.

True pigeon on block: Begin with two yoga blocks running alongside the left side of the yoga mat. Slide your right knee forward so that the thigh bone and knee are directly in front of its hip socket. Comfortably align the right heel over towards the left hip without letting the knee slide to the side. Check the back leg and make sure you are on the top of the knee and thigh, your foot is laying flat and the leg is in line with its own hip socket as well. Hold this position for one minute. If you’re able, you can also hip hinge forward, bring a proud chest towards your front leg. Repeat with your other leg.

Hip swivels: Sitting on the ground, have your feet out wider than hip, bring both knees down to one side, making sure that your feet are grounded. Smoothly transition the knees to the other side and create a smooth motion between the two sides for around x20 repetitions.

Frog pulses: Start by placing Laying flat and bring the knees out wider than the hips and then place both feet directly behind the position of each knee. Start to move slowly and gently back and forth, as you push your hips back, you will feel a stretch within the groin area. Aim to push down and back to open the hip further. Aim for 3 minutes pulsing back and forth. 

Adductor pulses: Start with both knees on the mat. Straighten one leg out to the side and keep the other leg bent. Push the hips back to connect one glute (your bum) to the back of the foot and then push back to the starting position. Aim for x15 repetitions then repeat on your other leg. 

Aeroplane hip lifts:Start by being a step away from a wall. Lift one leg up high and place it behind you. Tilt your hips so they open. As you hold the leg as high as you can, begin to push your arms away from the wall in front of you. Aim for only fingertips to be touching the wall. You may feel both glutes cramp or other parts of the leg feeling tight, these areas should be where you should foam roll or myofascial trigger point out. Hold for around x20 seconds and aim for x5 sets on one side, then repeat on the other side.

Weighted squats: Set your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Add a weight that you consider heavy onto your chest. With a straight back and open shoulders, squat down while ensuring your knees are pushed out and at a 90 degree angle. At the bottom of the exercise, squeeze your glutes and pause for a moment. Strongly push back up to the starting position, mirroring the descent. Keep your upper core engaged. Drive the energy through the heels to the glutes, aim for x 20 sets x 3.

Re-test Faber test

Re-test your Faber test. Cross one leg over the other straight leg and relax your hip letting the the knee drop to the floor. After around 30s measure the space between your knee and the floor and compare the difference in measurement.

Hopefully your hip rotation will have increased and therefore the measurement between your knee and the ground will have decreased.
Do not be disheartened if this has not happened. Consistency is key with your Faber test, and increasing the mobility in your hips will also help with the motion of your other exercises.

RUNNERS TIP

Other forms of sport such as Yoga, Pilates and conditioning sessions are very important when supporting your running development. Strong muscles and in the case of today's session, hip mobility, help with drive and balance. Consider taking up a sport to compliment your running.