Your glutes are the biggest muscle group in your body and provide stability and propulsion in your running gait. The muscles we want to be be aware of are gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.
Their primary job is to extend the hip, which you do with every stride as you run, but they also help to provide stability to the pelvis and create hip, knee and toe alignment. Below is a simple circuit of basic glute conditioning you can do at home to help you run stronger and reduce your injury risk.
Complete each exercise for 30-60 seconds and aim to run through the whole workout at least twice;
1. Single leg Bridge
Lying on your back raise your body up into a bridge position by engaging your gluteal muscles. Aim to keep your pelvis level as you slowly extend one leg at a time. You an also try this with a rubber resistance or thera-band around your thighs - aim to ensure your knees to not collapse in, so gentle push out agains the band as well as 'up' with the glute muscles.
2. Clams - Right side
Clams target the glute minimus muscle which provides stability on foot strike and controls excess pronation can be important in managing ITBS and outher common knee issues runners suffer. Lying on your side with your knees bent, raise the top knee whilst keeping your feet stacked. Ensure that your hip does not 'on up' or roll back as you raise the knee. When you have reached your maximum range without losing form drop your knee back down and continue to repeat the movement for 30-60 seconds. As you get stronger a rubber thera-band can be used to add resistance.
3. Side lying Abductions - Right side
Staying in the starting position of your clam now straighten the top leg, slightly angling your toes down towards the ground and raising the foot up towards the sky, reaching the maximum point you can without allowing your hips to roll or move. Return the leg to the start position and continue to repeat up and down for the full 30-60 seconds.
4 & 5 - repeat the clams and glute exercises on the left side
6. Single leg squats - Right side
Single leg squats are a great way to complete each set as they put the previous three exercises together in a functional running specific movement. Stand on one leg, engage your glute on your standing leg, keep your hips facing forward and aligned with your knee and toe. Imagine sitting back onto a chair and bending your knee to lower your body towards the ground. You don’t want your knee to roll inwards, so go down as far Aim for 8-12 repetitions on each leg.
7. Repeat the single leg squats on the left side.