Runners and Glutes: More than Just a Nice Shape
People are often doing exercises to improve the shape and look of their glutes. However, for runners strengthening your glutes gives you more than just a nice shape.
Your glutes have 3 different sets of gluteal muscles: Gluteus Minimus, Gluteus Medius, and Gluteus Maximus. Your two smaller gluteus muscles (Minimus and Medius) abduct the leg, meaning they help move the leg away from the body. The Gluteus Maximus, one of the biggest muscles in the body, extends the leg back and helps push you forward when you walk or run. These muscles do a lot to keep your body upright in a healthy position, because of their attachment to the hips, low back, and top of the leg.
The Gluteus Maximus is always helping us when we walk, so why do we need to strengthen it more? Due to our sedentary lifestyle and culture, our glute muscles are losing their strength by sitting on them. Many runners suffer from “non-firing glutes”, in which they are not using their glute muscles, and instead relying on smaller muscles, like quadriceps, hip flexors, and calf muscles, during a run. By not using bigger muscles, like their gluteus maximus, a runner can have a slow pace, fatigue faster, and pain and injuries in the back, hip, knee, and ankle.
Below are some exercises runners can do to strengthen their glute muscles and improve power, speed, and resist injury.
Bridge: Start laying on your back with your knees bent and your feet firmly on the floor. Keep your hands and arms by your side, and lift your hips into the air, squeezing your glutes behind you. Repeat the movement up and down 15 times. Do 3 sets.
Lateral Walking: Start with a resistance band around your ankles. Keep a small bend in the knee and the feet flat on the ground, and start to walk sideways, stepping one foot at a time across the room. Once you hit 10 steps on one side, go back the direction you came, stepping with the opposite leg first. Repeat 2 times.
- “Glutes. Runners World”. Runners World. http://www.runnersworld.com/glutes. Rodale February 2017.
- “Why Glute Strength is Important and a Workout”. This Runners Recipes. http://www.thisrunnersrecipes.com/glute-strength-workout/. January 2015.