Glute strength exercises are essential for all fast runners -without exception.
Strong hips and butt muscles are the powerhouse of the run.
Without these muscles doing their job, the smaller muscles in the leg must compensate. Sooner or later, injury will result.
Non –runners and many amatuers never consider the glutes (the butt muscles) and think that fast running come from the legs and calves. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Do not assume running will strengthen your glute muscles
I meet so many runners who tell me they do not need to to any leg/butt strength work because they run and cycle so that should be enough!
Total Baloney…and a dangerous myth.
Hip and glute strength exercises need to be done at least twice a week to ensure that with all the sitting we do all week, these glutes muscles stay active and get stronger. Running by itself will not strengthen them.
We all have tightness and weakness throughout our leg muscles due to too much sitting during a standard week. Generally most runners have tight calf muscles, tight hamstrings, weak butt muscles and weak abdominal muscles.
The butt muscles very quickly “switch off” and the calves and hamstrings very quickly tighten up.
Bad movement patterns quickly occur without us knowing or being aware of it.
If you look at every professional runner they ALL do glute strength exercises– without exception. It does not matter whether they are a long distance runner, or a sprinter, a hepthalete or triathlete.
If you want to improve, look at what the experts do, then do that.
Do not waste time rationalising why it applies to everyone else but you :)
With the huge mileage most of these marathon runners and Ironman triathletes run each week, if running by itself strengthened their gluteal area, they would not need to do any strength work.
Yet they ALL do it…
- To run faster
- To prevent injury
- Running does not strengthen your glutes. Rather, you need strong glutes to run!
Glute strength exercises prevent (and fix) injury
When your glutes are dysfunctional or weak (90% of runners!), other muscles must compensate, which inevitably leads to injuries. Research has shown that everything from shin splints and IT band syndrome to runner’s knee or Achilles tendonitis can be traced back to deficiencies in the hips and glutes. Glutes strengthening exercises prevents injuries AND will make you a faster runner- in much less time.
Studies have demonstrated that many lower-leg overuse injuries in runners are a result of weaknesses in the gluteal area. So you have been thwarted by injury, focus on strengthening these powerful muscles; you will improve quicker and prevent recurrence.
Hip and glute control is essential for running efficiency, to keep the pelvis a stable platform for the legs to power off. The gluteal muscles(gluteus maximus and gluteus medius) are big. They should be the most powerful muscles in the body. However for many people – even athletes- they are weak and untrained.. as we sit on them all day- they quickly become de-conditioned and a bit useless.
The “cure” for all these conditions is to strengthen the glutes.
Glute strength exercises saves time
Doing the correct glute strength exercises in the beginning always saves time in the long run.
During my work as a physical therapist and as a triathlon coach, I see time and time again, athletes who skip drills, and skip strength work- because they just do not think it is important.
Unfortunately… you know what is coming…. their training goes well, they improve their times over the season… until as the mileage increases, the weaknesses get found out.. and an injury occurs 6-8 weeks out from their “A” race.
The season is ruined…and they are out of the race… as they need to go back to basics and start balance work, flexibility and basic squats from scratch. (As well as 4 weeks of no running to allow the inflammation to subside first).
Glutes strength exercises- will prevent injury- saving you a ton of time at the sports masseuse and physical therapist
Do not let ego, impatience or a temptation to skip basic drills happen to you.
Hey- no judgement here- I was the same for a while(!!)- until I got injured!
Most people do not “get it” until they get injured….!
This is how to goes for most people…
Glute strength exercises improve your speed
Glutes strength exercise training will propel you past your fellow competitors faster than simply going out and running the same route every week.
I see a lot of runners who have been competing for 3-5 years and plateaued. They keep training but they get no faster. Upon questioning, inevitably they run the same routes each and every week. They do no strength training. Their diet is fairly poor.
It is a good idea to mix up your training. Some fast hard intervals one day. Do hill session the next . Do a long slow, steady state focusing like a hawk on good technique. Adding glutes strength exercises is the fastest way to see you smashing your PR’s again and again.
Glutes strength needs to be trained, then it needs to be thought about and deliberately implemented into your running…
When you are starting to feel tired, and fading ½ way through your run, re-focus on the hip/glutes area and try to imagine the power coming from here…
Try to relax your calves and thigh muscles to some extent and power from your butt muscles….
I have had many athletes report- it was like suddenly inserting a new set of batteries.. and getting a 2nd wind….
So what are the best glute strength exercises for running?
It is super important that your glutes strength work is functional.
We do not want to be wasting time in a headband and leotard doing Jane Fonda routines that are not relevant to running…
Instead focus on functional movements like:
- Squats- the King of strong glutes
- Lunges- one of the BEST glutes strength exercises for running
- One legged squats (can you do a few in a row- slowly, with control and with you knee coming directly forward over your 3rd toe (NOT your big toe??)
- Clamshells- great to isolate glutes medius.. and give your pelvis stability
- Deadlifts (single leg, or standard)
If you are familiar with these exercises start right away.
If you have not done strength work for a while- start with body weight only 3 x 15 reps.
If you are already doing these exercises regularly and are used to the movements- ramp them up.
Go heavy. Use a squat bar…. Lift the heaviest weight you can lift 5 times.
Do not make it a cardio workout and start falling into the triathletes trap– of doing 3 x 25 reps. Check out the #1 mistake triathletes make in strength training all the time.
This is strength work. You need to go heavy.
Do 3 x 5 reps…
If you would like a 12 week program to follow along with to ensure you are doing the right thing, get this Glutes strength exercises program.
It is a 12-week program (instant download) for runners to maximise their glute strength. It is a program designed by my friend, running specialist, James Dunne.
- Instant video download and pdf with initial self-screening
- Step by step beginner, intermediate and advanced glutes workouts specific to runners
- Awesome running drills
- Important hip mobility work
Do not make the mistake of reading body builder magazines and copying their routines willy nilly… Some of their exercises are for strength, some of them are for hypertrophy and some are just for show…
There may be some overlap.. but if you want to run fast – make sure you only use your time doing functional running glutes strength exercises
I now a lot of runners who can get away with weak glutes and poor running form for 5km and 10km races but as soon as they start to increase the mileage to half marathon and full marathon, their weaknesses get exposes very quickly and they waste a season on the physio table.
Then having to go back to basics and getting told to do squats and lunges which they should have done in the first place…
So if you know this is you, get this glutes strength exercise program and start today. I am an affiliate for this product as I know just how important it is for all runners. Whilst James might give me a couple of bucks for telling you about this product, trust me, I earn far more money treating the hundreds of injured runners who come to my clinic to get fixed. But I simply go through with them the same info contained within this program – and charge them a lot more for my one on one time.
Do yourself a favor. Get this program. It is so worth it and will stop you guessing at what you should be doing to get your glutes strong and firing on all cylinders!
Do not wait until you are injured… ( injury usually occurs just when everything is going well and you are feeling the fittest you ever have)!
PS Strong glutes will also help you on the bike!
PPS Every runner needs this program…
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