And for runners, these muscles are way more important.
In fact, the glute muscles are the source of power when it comes to running.
While running, the glute muscles keep your pelvis steady and level, and also keep your torso, pelvis, and legs aligned.
Therefore, these muscles should be the focus of every runner’s oriented strength workout program.
And today I’m going to share with you some of my thoughts along with practical tips and bodyweight exercises to help you get the most out of these incredibly important muscles.
Of course, feel free to use dumbbells, kettlebells, bars and exercise machines, but training equipment do not always come in handy. Most of the time you would need to hit the gym.
The good news is that you can do the routine I’m sharing with you anytime anywhere.
Just show up and work your butt off, no pun intended.
With that said, and before we jump into the routine, let’s first take a quick look at the glutes’ primary job and the link between glute weakness and running injury.
What are the glutes in charge of?
These muscles are responsible for many important functions, including:
The Gluteus Maximus. This is the largest muscle tissue of your butt cheeks, and it’s in charge of hip extension, as well as moving the leg behind us—key for forward drive while running.
Another vital muscle is the Gluteus Medius, which is the smaller muscle tissue at the very top of the butt. This one is in charge of hip abduction, moving the leg out to the side. And it’s also responsible for sideways tilting of the pelvis.
Glutes Weakness and Running Injuries
Research has linked glute weakness to a myriad of running injuries.
Some of the injuries related to gluteal muscle dysfunction include (and not limited to), IT band syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, shin pain, knee pain, the notorious runner’s knee, back pain and a host of other trouble.
The Bodyweight Glute Workout
Here are the bodyweight glute strength exercises you can do anywhere anytime.
The routine is simple and straightforward. Aim for two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
If you have neglected your glutes muscles for the last few years, then aim to do at least two to three glute workouts, repeating the routine two to three times per week.
Gluteus maximus, rectus abdominis, hamstrings, and hips.
Begin by lying flat on the floor on your back with the hands by your side, feet flat on the floor hip-width apart and knees bent.
To perform the bridge, press upward by pushing with your heels, lift your hips off the ground while keeping your back straight throughout the exercise.
Make sure your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
Squeeze your glutes and abs tight and hold the pose for 30-second to one full minute, then slowly return to starting position.
2. Single-Leg Elevated Glute Bridge
Glutes, hamstrings, and the whole core.
Assume bridge pose with your feet flat, core engaged and knee bent. Next, extend your right leg as straight as possible toward the ceiling while keeping your thigh in line with your hips.
Keep extending your leg upward by driving through the heel, and raising your butt off the floor. Extend your leg as far as possible.
Hold it for 5 to 10 seconds, then bring it down, and switch sides.
3. Glute Kickback
Glutes, hamstrings and upper legs.
Get on all fours with your back parallel to the ground, and hips lined over the knees with hands directly under the shoulders.
Next, as you inhale in, thrust your right foot backward as though you’re kicking like a horse.
Make sure to flex your butts for a 1-count when your leg is fully extended back behind you.
Bring your knee almost all the way down to the floor, and then repeat for eight to ten reps. Lower the knee back to starting position and switch sides.
4. Step-up with Knee Raise
Abs, hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.
Stand upright facing a bench or a box of a challenging but proper height.
Next, step up on the box by putting your right foot on the top of the box with your knee bent to 90 degrees, then straighten the leg to stand upright.
Make sure to extend through the knee and hip of your right leg to stand up on the box.
As you stand on the box, balance on your right leg and flex the left knee, bringing your knee as high as you can in a controlled and slow manner.
Pause for a moment, then slowly return to starting position and repeat.
This is one repetition.
5. Side-Lying Leg Lift
Gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, and abductors muscles
Begin by lying on your right side with your legs extended straight out.
Next, as you brace your core, raise your left leg up to the ceiling while keeping your hips stacked and steady and back straight.
Pause for a moment, then lower down and repeat.
6. Band Walks
Glutes and hip abductors.
Get a band and wrap it around your legs, about mid-shin level—just above each ankle. You should feel a little resistance when standing with your feet hip-width apart.
Next, with core engaged and hands on hips, bend your knees slightly, and shift your weight over your right leg and take a wide step sideways with the left leg, then step right foot in.
In this exercise, you will be moving your leg in and out laterally, for 12 to 15 repetitions
Aim for 10 steps to the left, and then 10 to the right, repeating it for a complete of three sets.