Build hip stability to help keep knee and IT band pain away with this excellent exercise. 

How strong are you? And to run a marathon, how strong do you have to be? This is a tough nut to crack, but we can make some progress by asking the opposite question: How do you know when you’re not strong enough?

Sometimes the answer is obvious: you’re constantly dealing with injuries, you struggle to increase your mileage or your performances have plateaued. Often there’s a connection between your running woes and a lack of strength and athleticism.

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Fortunately, we can turn the ship around quickly with a little attention to some basic strength work. The Step Up, demonstrated in the above video, is a great truth teller.

Moving up a level from the lunge, the Step Up builds hip stability to help keep knee and IT band pain away. Start with a small step, about 12 inches high, and gradually work your way up to performing this exercise on a higher step. Want more of a challenge? Add some dumbbells to the mix. A strong, athletic runner should be able to comfortably and smoothly step up and down on a 20-24 inch box.

If you can control and stabilize your legs through higher and higher Step Ups, you’re connecting the dots toward running further, faster and stronger.


About The Author:

Nate Helming coaches strength and mobility for national and international-level road cyclists, mountain bikers, triathletes and ultrarunners at San Francisco CrossFit, as well as elite-level amateur runners and triathletes outside the gym. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter and check out his videos on The Run Experience YouTube channel.