The hip abductor muscles are the muscles on the outside of your hips and buttocks (in case you were wondering, the adductors are the muscles on the inside of your thigh).
The abductor group is made up of four muscles: Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus, and Tensor Fascia Lata.
There has been a good deal of debate about this, but those in favour argue that keeping the strength in these muscles is key to a good running stride and helping to prevent injuries. Hip abduction exercises are great for strengthening the muscles that stabilise the femur into the hip joint. To work the muscles effectively, do the exercises one to three times a week.
There are specific exercises you can do to strengthen these muscles and they are varied. Here are a couple:
Single-leg squat: Much like a full squat, you are looking to sit low and backwards as far as you can, without moving your supporting knee forward.
Let the free leg be raised off the ground a few inches with toes pointing forward.
It may be wise to start this exercise with a bed behind you, then you can gradually progress to a chair, and then you can remove the chair and go as low as you dare!
Try 10-20 reps on each leg.
Single-leg deadlift: The aim here is to hinge forwards while you are stood up, and reach your hands towards the ground, while you keep your shoulders back, the back straight and the supporting leg as straight as you can.
Then you return back to a standing position and repeat.
You can progress to using weights or perform the exercise on a less stable surface. This is great for strengthening the glutes and the hamstrings.
Repeat 10-20 times for each leg.
As long as you have a good level of balance, these exercises can be performed by anybody.
I get quite stiff hips so have to do regular hip abductor stretches so I would say it's important to add stretching into these exercises too.
I have never heard that about hip abductor exercises being good for running stride. Now you've got my interest. These sound quite easy and i will try them in front of the TV later!
I like the top tip about starting the single leg squat with a soft landing astern. I tried it and needed it!