How to strengthen glutes for running 

 

Today, I want to show you how to strengthen your glutes for running with some very simple exercises.

Believe it or not, your glutes play a huge part in whether you stay injury-free or not.

I had some issues with my knee and hip a couple of years ago and was convinced I had a problem with the knee itself. Turns out it was due to have weak glutes that in turn was causing an imbalance that gave me the other issues.

So What are glutes anyway?

Well, your glutes are the three muscles in your butt:

The Gluteus Maximus is the main muscle of the group and works when you raise your leg to the side, rotate your leg or thrust your hips forwards.

The Medius and Minimus basically work together to support the Maximus when raising your leg to the side as well as helping to rotate your thigh outward when your leg is straight or inwards when you bend at the hip.

Your Glutes help support your body when you stand up and give you a better balance in general.

Did you know that your glutes are also one of the biggest muscle groups in your body? It’s so important to make sure they are strong.

Why weak glutes can lead to injury

If you have weak glutes then your other muscles can pay the price.

Some of the symptoms you may see are as follows:

  • Pain in the Hips
  • The tightness of the Butt
  • Tight Hamstrings
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Knee Pain
  • Tight Calves
  • Ankle Pain

It really is amazing how this muscle group can affect different areas of your body.

As I said previously, I had a lot of Hip and Knee pain during some of my longer training runs. To the point where I had to walk due to the discomfort.

I went to see my sports physio who told me (after examination), that one of the main factors of my pain was having weak glutes.

So, I was given a set of exercises to help strengthen the area and within a week or two I was pain-free and running normally again.

Now, of course, as with any strength exercises, you shouldn’t exclusively work on one body part to fix the issue to hand.

If I had totally focused on glute exercises only then I probably would have issues elsewhere.

The main issue was that I was doing some strength work, but didn’t concentrate on my glutes at all which left them weak.

Exercises to Strengthen Your Glutes

 As I said earlier in the post, doing glute exercises alone won’t be the ultimate fix for your issues. It will fix some of the issues outlined above but you have to strengthen everywhere.

Always ensure you are incorporating some other strength training into your routine.

With that said, let’s take a look at the best glute exercises for you to incorporate into your strength training program.

Lying Leg Raises

This is one of the simplest exercises but it is great for activating both the Hips and Glutes.

Try doing sets of 20 on both sides and whilst lying on your back.

I tend to go with 3 sets of 20 for each leg, but if you are just starting out, it might be worth doing one set of each until you feel comfortable doing more.

Why not check out the videos below for a more visual explanation. 

The Glute Bridge

This is one of the best all-round strengthening exercises that you can incorporate as a runner.

There are a number of variations you can use to change up this exercise a little. You can hold for 30 seconds in the upright position, or move your butt up and down from the ground for 20 reps.

You can even do it single-legged to increase the intensity of the exercise. This is definitely an exercise you should incorporate into your routine.

Kettlebell SWINGS

When I spoke about doing exercises that target many muscles, the kettlebell swing is the king in my opinion.

The kettlebell swing works all of the following:

  • hips
  • glutes
  • hamstrings
  • lats
  • abs
  • shoulders
  • pecs
  • grip.

It’s a simple and fast way to incorporate a very athletic movement into a routine safely while burning a ton of calories.

This is my go-to exercise without exception and I would suggest it becomes yours as well.

When performing a Kettlebell swing, good form is essential, so take a look at the video below.

CLAMSHELLS

This is a very basic exercise but it is great for the hips and glutes again.

Lay on your side, legs together. Keeping your feet together, begin to raise one knee away from the other as high as you can without separating the feet.

Looks like a clam right?

Try 15 to 20 reps each side over 3 sets.

To intensify the exercise, use a resistance band for more of a burn.

Donkey Kicks

This is another fairly straight forward exercise that is easy to perform.

First of all position yourself on all fours on an exercise mat, with your hands under the shoulders and the knees under the hips.

Keeping the right knee bent at 90 degrees, flex your right foot and lift your knee to hip level so that your foot is parallel to the ceiling, all the while squeezing your hips;

Lower knee without touching the floor and lift again, completing 10-12 reps side for 2 to 3 sets.

 

Final Thoughts

I had so many injuries and niggles as I began to increase my running and I thought it was due to anything other than my glutes. It’s almost a forgotten muscle.

Definitely add glute exercises into your running program as you will find that you are a better runner for it, plus you will probably have a much better chance of staying injury-free.

It certainly worked for me in the past. Doing strength work as well as cross-training alongside your running will make so much difference to you.

So I hope this post was of use to you. If you want to know how to strengthen glutes for running why not try out some of the exercises for yourself – my favorite is the kettlebell swing without a doubt – let me know yours.

All the best,

Mark.