You just hit the gym. Of course you did your essentials: you got your squats in, deadlifts, lunges, pull ups, bench press, and abs in. Good job, right?
I mean, yea good, but not the most optimal you could’ve done. Those are certainly key to getting stronger but doing only those can leave your performance lacking and leave you vulnerable to injury.
Don’t want that do you?
What muscles should you add a few minutes to train while you’re putting in work?
Glute medius, minimus, and hip external rotators
These muscles are key to maintaining health in your knee, providing you with stability in your running stride, and power and control in change of direction. They are located on the sides of your hip and the upper part of your glute - think top and outside of your back pockets.
Your hip flexors are responsible for lifting your thighs up toward your waist. Strong hip flexors increase your speed as they make it easier to lift your thigh high enough to put enough force into the ground for optimal stride length. When sprinting, they are prone to strains if not strong enough for the workload. I personally have strained them playing ultimate in the cold after not warming up enough, so warm them up well when it gets cold.
The muscles of the shin are easily the least trained muscles. The strength of your tibialis anterior and friends influences your ability to absorb force into the ground from running and jumping, as well as helps keep your knees stronger. Working these muscles can also give you more range of motion for squatting. Simply spending time walking on your heels for a few minutes a day can be beneficial.
These are muscles soooo many fail to work on but affect so much of your mobility. In your trunk, you have 3 layers of abs: rectus abdominis (6 pack & most superficial), obliques (on your sides), and transverse abs. They are the deepest layer and you can’t see them. They run around your waist like a belt, beginning and ending in a path of fascia around your spine.
Weak transverse abs over long periods of time set you up for back pain and potential injury during dynamic movements that involve turning. I have helped many folks with back pain from sports and from age (grandparents age), by spending time on these muscles. They control rotation and resist rotation.
It would be wise of you to spend some time working on your rotational abilities each time you train!
What do you think? Let me know if these are muscles you already train or if I missed any that you felt should’ve been mentioned.
If you’re looking for exercises to work on these, shoot me a message and I’ll send some over. I cover a few good ones in my e-book “10 Exercises to Eliminate Running Pain” so download it and check it out!