Glutes are sometimes the most overlooked aspect in the strength program of a runner. If you have knee pain, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, IT band syndrome etc, chances are that it may have originated from weak ?butt?! In this post, I will give out 5 exercises to strengthen glutes.
The gluteus maximus is the largest of the three gluteal muscles. The gluteus medius and minimus are located at the outer hip and enable you to abduct the hip, or move the leg away from the body, as well as assist in stabilising the pelvis.
When we run, the glutes hold our pelvis level and steady, extend our hip, propel us forward, and keep our legs, pelvis, and torso aligned. So when our glutes are weak, our entire kinetic chain goes for a six!
Strengthen that BOOTY!
Now in our sedentary lifestyle, the glutes take a lot of beating. Prolonged hours of sitting shorten their length and hence are not utilised to their full potential. But worry not! I will give you 5 exercises to strengthen glutes and activate them.
1. Donkey Kicks
Donkey kicks are one of the best ways to strengthen and fire the ?butt?. Get on all your fours and then lift one leg behind, keeping the knee bent at 90 degree angle. Do 8?10 repetitions from one leg and then change. You can do 2?3 sets.
This exercise can be done after your run as part of strengthening session. Be sure to keep your back straight throughout the movement with minimal swaying around. Keep the abs engaged. Also make sure the kicks are generated from the glutes instead of any other muscle group.
Squats is an exercise
which targets a lot of muscle groups ? abs, glutes, quads. It is one of the fantastic exercises to strengthen the glutes. According to Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, squats may help runners in uphill running and with correct running form, thus minimizing injuries.
Do them with or without weights. Perform 2?3 sets of 10?15 squats. Important things to REMEMBER while performing squats, which most of us ignore is that ?
a. Keep the back straight at all times.
b. Look straight.
c. Knees should not go ahead of toes at any point during the whole movement.
Try the following variations in squats ?
a. With dumbells.
b. With barbell and weight plates.
c. With kettle bells.
d. With resistance bands.
e. Body weight squats.
Lunges is another great exercise to strengthen glutes. It is in fact part of my daily warm up routine. I borrowed this lunge routine from Coach Jay Johnson, who calls it the Lunge Matrix.
Lunge Matrix Video
Stand straight and then take a long step forward. Bend down in a lunge, keeping in mind that the knee doesn?t cross your toes. Do 8?10 repetitions and 2?3 sets. There are many varieties of lunges ? front, side, back; all targeting different gluteal muscles.
4. Glute Bridge
Another one of the amazing exercises to strengthen glutes. Apart from activating the glutes, it also strengthens the abs and the lower back. There are also a number of variations which includes dynamic movements to make this exercise harder.
Hold the pose as long as possible and gradually increase time. REMEMBER to keep the spine straight and knees together for maximum benefit.
5. Clam Shells
Clam shells activate and strengthen gluteus medius and minimus which are located at the outer hip. Lie down on your side with the knees
bent at 90 degree angle. Something like being in a glute bridge position but on your side.
Open your knees till about 45 degree and close again. Repeat it 8?10 times and then change sides.
So here you go. These are some very effective exercises to strengthen glutes. If you can even do them every alternate day, you will improve your running and avoid a host of injuries.
In case, you liked what you read, then do subscribe to my newsletter and subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Till then stay fit and keep running.
Which is your favourite of the above 5 exercises?
Any other exercise you would like to add?