Pre-run mini band routine by marathoner and Doctor of Physical Therapy, Anh Bui

We’re deep in a big-time band-work phase in the running world right now. And it’s completely justified because band work, especially glute work via mini bands, is getting and keeping a lot of us healthy.

But there are a lot of mini-band exercises out there. When do you do them? For how many? For how long? Why aren’t they actually that mini?

It’s overwhelming, and that might ultimately lead to you making no decisions about mini-band exercises.

SO, if you just want to be told what to do:

Do this pre-run mini band routine by marathoner and Doctor of Physical Therapy, Anh Bui.

These are meant to be muscle activation exercises and Dr. Bui prescribes them to be done as a warmup before you head out for your run. They target muscle groups that we rely on heavily as runners and help prevent injury.

“Muscle activation is often referred to as neuromuscular re-education and means we are building that connection between the brain and specific muscle groups; hence, they are engaged when they need to be during activity,” said Bui

This, as opposed to strength exercises which improve the efficiency in the recruitment of fast twitch muscle fibers, which helps any distance runner build a robust foundation.

Reminder: unless you are—or still recover like you are—18 years old, start with a lower number of reps and work up to the reps prescribed, over a few weeks.

  • Banded Hip Flexion: 
    1. Frequency: 20 reps
    2. How to: Place band around the toes with feet spaced apart to create tension. Lift right leg straight up while maintaining tension on the band. Do not let pelvis drop side to side or allow trunk to lean to either side. 

  • Standing Fire Hydrants:
    1. Frequency: 30 second hold, followed by 20 reps/side
    2. How to: Place band around the knees. Sit butt back, slightly lean forward. Lift right leg up, with the knee bent. Then bring right leg out to the side and behind you (band should move at a diagonal). You should feel your glute muscles activating on both sides (the standing leg gets worked more).

  • Skaters: 
    1. Frequency: 30 second hold, followed by 20 reps/side
    2. How to: Place band above ankles. Trunk should be nice and tall, slightly tuck the tailbone so that pelvis is neutral. Bring one leg out the side and slightly behind you at a 30 degree angle. Both legs should stay relatively straight with a slight soft bend in the knee.

  • Lateral Band walks
    1. Frequency: 20 steps/side
    2. How to: Place band around ball of feet, with feet spaced apart. Sit your hips back, leaning trunk slightly forward. Step sideways while maintaining tension on the band. Trunk should not lean side to side. If you can’t keep your trunk still, use a band with less resistance.

  • Squats with band
    1. Frequency: 20 steps/side
    2. How to: Place band around the knees. Perform hip dominant squats! This means sit the butt back, lean trunk forward. Rip the band apart with your knees as you descend, squeeze your butt on the way up.

You can follow Dr. Bui’s running and PT journey @anhbui_dpt. She’s also featured in the following articles: How to Get Better at Pushups and The Best Stretches to Help You Get Rid of Shin Splints.

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