My physiotherapist says I suffer from a condition that is common to most runners: lazy glutes. I have, apparently, fairly strong glutes. It just so happens that they would rather sit around and let my legs do all the work to support their weight.
By learning to incorporate my glute muscles into my runs, it’s like running with an extra leg’s worth of power. For longer distances, it takes a significant strain off your exhausted legs, allowing you to run longer and faster without getting as tired. Plus it’s an amazing glute workout in itself. Every runner deserves a good bum!
HOW TO TEST YOUR GLUTES
Extend one leg directly behind you without bending your knee. Like this:
Now place your hand on the top half of your bum and have a feel. Is the muscle soft? Hard? Then feel your hamstring. What muscle are you using to pull your leg back? If you’re not sure, ask someone else to feel it. (Preferably not a stranger.) If your glute doesn’t stiffen, you’re only using your hamstring: ineffective for running.
Now lie on the ground, tuck in your bum so your back is straight and not curved. Bend your knees to place your heels as close to your bum as possible. Lift your bum off the ground while keeping your hips straight. Hold your arms in front of you or rest them on your chest so you don’t use them for support. It will look like this:
If that’s too easy, extend one leg in the air like this:
My hips could actually be higher here. You can see how I’m already starting to drop them. You should be feeling this in your glute.
In a perfect world, a marathoner or ultra runner should be able to hold this pose for hours. Realistically, most people can’t hold that pose for a minute.
My physio recommended building up a little every day until you can hold it for at least a minute in good form. As soon as your form starts to slip and your hips start to drop, you’re done. Stop and try again another time. It’s important to always push up on the right muscles or your legs will take over.
HOW TO RUN WITH SUPER GLUTE POWER!
I have found that there is only one really effective way for me to activate my glutes: Do it consciously. I have to literally think about it and make sure I’m tightening my glutes and making them pull their weight.
This can apply to walking as well. For the past week I have been walking and running around using the muscles in my bum. It’s tough.
Consciously incorporating glutes into your movements will immediately increase your running power. However, if you’d like to build your glute muscles, there are tons of exercises out there that can help you do that.
Bums! They’re more than just eye candy my friends.