There are many things to consider to prepare for running. Stability, specifically around the hip, is an important factor to consider when running, so we are going to take some time to talk about it here.

Why do runners need stability?

Inadequate hip stabilization can be a key contributor to lower leg running related injuries. This means the pain you feel in your knee, ankle, or foot with running is most likely the result of deficits, higher up the chain which is something that you can address.    

Our arms and legs require a stable axle to maneuver in order to have efficient movement. Think of trying to drive cross‐country in car that has a loose axle. There are bound to be problems. The concept is the same for a healthy running stride. Having a stable pelvis and hip complex is paramount for healthy movement at the knee, ankle, and foot.   

How to check your stability?

Running is a multipart movement pattern that occurs quickly, which can make it hard to identify where deficits may be occurring. A good place to start is to break down the indi‐ vidual movements that comprise a running stride and observe how your hip and pelvis are operating. Try taking a video of yourself doing the key movements below.   

  • Single‐leg balance for 1 minute 
  • Three single‐leg squats   
  • Three single‐leg vertical jumps (Jumping straight up and landing on one leg) 

As you do these movements watch where your upper body is shifting, how your waist‐ line is positioned, and where your knee is positioned relative to your hip and ankle.   

  • Could you make it a full minute on a single leg without losing balance?   
  • Did your waistline tip to one side?    
  • Did your landing spot shift around during the vertical jumps?   

These are all questions that can help determine if your hip and pelvis stability could use some attention.   

How to improve your stability?

Research has identified hip abductors and hip external rotators as key muscle groups to target for improving hip stabilization. These muscles sit on the side of your hip and do not directly get strengthened by running alone. Ultimately, this means you have to supplement running with other forms of exercise to protect yourself from injury.   

Check out our YouTube channel for the Top 3 Exercises for Runners and our Instagram page for my favorite exercises that target these muscle groups. 

Happy Running! 


BDI Highlight: Pilates for Runners

Pilates to help runners stabilize

Pilates can be an excellent form of exercise to enhance hip stabilization for runners.  It also encourages body awareness and mindfulness that sets it apart from just another conditioning workout.   

Pilates’ side‐lying work in particular targets the tonic stabilizers (your endurance muscles) of the hip.   

Check out this VIDEO for a sample of these exercises. 

As you try these exercises at home, be aware of a couple of things!   

  • First, how is your body aligned?  When you are lying on your side, are your shoulders in line with your ribs, and ribs right above your hips? Tip: lie against a wall to check if your trunk is correctly aligned.    
  • Second, how can you use as little effort as possible for the anticipated exercise? Be mindful if you are over‐recruiting muscles like your hip flexors or quads when really the fo‐ cus is on the core and hips. 
  • Third, range of motion. If your alignment is being compromised by your movement then you need to take it down a notch. Finally, slow down! These exercises are meant to be done slowly and deliberately to increase your awareness of how your body moves. 

This mindful approach to exercise is one way you can improve your trunk and hip stability.   

If you have more questions about Pilates, or if you would like help with these exercises, email Grace at or come to one of BDI’s Pilates classes!