Wednesday Resources: Glutes
Since today is hump day, I thought there was no better time to give an homage to the best muscle of the human body – the glutes.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first. It is NOT just a pretty muscle, it is the powerhouse for the runner. The glutes are the hardest working muscles for the runner as it is the most important locomotive muscles as they provide the force to move the whole leg.
Without your glutes, you just couldn’t run.
I feel the need to tout the importance of glutes because I feel that they are forgotten in the quest for those runners abs. While a strong core is vital to running performance, studies have linked weakened glutes to Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, runner’s knee and iliotibial-band syndrome. It is WORTH your time to get some extra strength training in, especially because glutes are not often isolated in strength training routines and tight muscles can inhibit glute muscle fibres from firing.
Well, most runners do more than just that. A lot of us have jobs that require sitting for long periods of time, causing our hip flexors to become short and tight and our glute muscles to become long and weak. This is where injuries come in because your body will forget to use the glute muscles and recruit a stronger muscle close by to do the job instead which is where injuries come from.
What happens with weak glutes?
Literally, a laundry list of things. Weak glute muscles often equal overactive hamstrings, causing ITB syndrome, low back pain and runner’s knee. Without strong glutes to align the femur, knee and ankle, you are more likely to over pronate your feel, which can lead to plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and shin splints. And that is just the beginning of it.
So let’s check out where you are in the glute strength scale.
My coach has me do the single leg test. Stand with your hands over your head, palms together. Lift one of your feet off the ground and balance. If your opposite hip dips down, you need to work a little harder on those glutes.
Another test is the Hip Extension Test. Lie on the floor, face down and keep both legs straight. Lift one leg off the ground. If on lifting, the leg significantly flexes or you have a dip in your lower back, your glute muscles need some loving.
This is an image of some of my favourite movements to ensure my glutes are strong and firing correctly when I run. I have been doing my interval training at Goodlife Fitness over the winter and on my off days, I work on glute and core strength. I have lots of additional exercises in the resources.
Hips, Hamstrings and Glutes are the Key to Running Faster – Runners Connect
100 Reps to a Better Butt – Goodlife Fitness
6 Glute Exercises to Better Your Run – Active