Abduction is the movement of a limb away from the midline of the body. Lift your leg to the side of your body to perform hip abduction. All the glute muscles—maximus, medius, minimus and tensor fasciae latae—play a crucial role in hip abduction and successful running.
In gait, hip abduction doesn’t involve lifting your leg out to your side but rather the stance leg abductors lifting up the non-stance side of the hip. Hip abduction and hip abductors are easy to overlook until you’re hurt and can’t run.
In many cases, weakness is the problem and strength is the cure. Use these exercises to prevent or overcome injury and increase your running performance. These workouts target the hip abductors in ways that squats and deadlifts don’t.
Weak hip muscles affect your posture in two ways. First, hip flexors that are not regularly stretched become shortened and pull you forward. Second, weak glutes muscles are not strong enough to pull you forward. As a result, you may tend to slouch.
Hip Abductor Strength Exercises
All exercises should be done in good control and to the point of exertion but not total exhaustion.
Side Plank Dips
This exercise targets abs, shoulders, and hip abductors. You may hold side planks to meet a certain time or move up and down three times to complete one full rep. Repeat a few more times. Keep your leg aligned with your trunk as you do these. A common mistake is allowing the leg to migrate forward. You’ll miss the target if that happens. Once you are able to perform challenge side plank with leg raise.
Hip hikes work the hip abductors along with the quads, lower leg and foot muscles. Stand on a box or step. Reach the non-stance leg down toward the ground then reverse direction and lift the non-stance leg up as high as you can as if you’re sprinting. Use a wall or something similar for support if you need it but use the least amount of support you need.
Hold a weight in one hand (begin with a light weight not to compromise your posture). Perform an alternating walking lunge to the point of exertion. Turn around, hold the weight in the other hand, and walk back. Stay balanced and in control at all times. The hip abductors are worked most when the weight is opposite the lunging leg. Tune into your glutes and feel them work.