Triathlete, Runners & Cyclists basic strength and injury prevention exercises.
Cyclists, runner and triathletes often end up muscular imbalances that can result in injuries. The reason is that we tend to exercise in the same plane of motion all the time... front to back... with about the same range of motion. Many of the specific larger muscles (quads, hamstrings or calves) tend to get larger and stronger over time, while many of stabilizing muscles (particularly in the hips) tend to get weaker with lack of use.
Over time, I've collected a series of articles focusing specifically on improving hip strength. Attached are summaries of the key exercises, with the original links listed below:
To help maintain good form and reduce the chance of injury, here are some basic exercises you should perform on a regular basis, ideally a minimum of 4 times a week, building up from 10 to eventually 20-30 reps each. Really focus on slow controlled motion, with a distinct pause at the midpoint (maximum contraction):
Seated Hip External Rotator. While in a seated position, keep your knees together and rotate your leg outward using a resistance band, as shown in the attached picture.
Standing Hip Flexor. While standing and facing away from the resistance band anchor point, keep your leg straight and move your foot forward. Preferably this should be done as a balance drill (without holding on to anything) to improve stabilization of the stationary leg as well.
Standing Hip Abductor. While standing to the side of the resistance band anchor point, attach the resistance band to your outside leg and move your foot away from the anchor point. Preferably this should be done as a balance drill (without holding on to anything) to improve stabilization of the stationary leg as well.
Standing Hip Extensor. While standing and facing toward the resistance band anchor point, keep your leg straight and move your foot forward. Preferably this should be done as a balance drill (without holding on to anything) to improve stabilization of the stationary leg as well.
The Hip Drop. While standing on a step the supporting leg (on the step) needs to stay straight as the hips are allowed to drop to lower the unsupported leg. Slowly raise back up ensuring that you are not "cheating" by raising the shoulder, nor are you allowing the pelvis to rotate forward or backward.
Psoas Hip Flexion. While lying on your back, attached the bands around your feet. While keeping one leg straight, bring your knee upward toward your chest, pausing at the top. If you do not have the strength to use a band, simply stand and raise your knee up, holding it for 20-30s, before moving to the resistive band.
Reverse Table Top. Start seated with your hands behind your hips, shoulder width apart. Lift your hips upward until you achieve a horizontal position. Pause, slowly let your hips down and repeat. Make sure your feet are directly below your knees. For an advance set, hold one foot off the ground (knee bent) while doing this exercise.
Heel Drop/Calf Raise. Okay... this isn't a hip exercise. But maintaining good strength of the calf, Achilles, and feet help prevent injuries as well. Stand with your toes on a step, slowly lowering your heel to get a good stretch. Raise up higher than perpendicular, and repeat. Beginners can use both legs, and advanced can do one leg at a time.