Try These 3 Glute Activation Exercises Before Your Next Run
With every step you take, your glute muscles provide power for your stride, stability for your hips and pivotal support for your body. The glutes are one of the largest and strongest muscle groups in the body, and strengthening these muscles can improve your performance by increasing your speed and endurance while reducing your risk of common running injuries.
Having buns of steel also helps you maintain proper form, reducing the likelihood of compensatory movements. Think of your body like a machine: if one cog in the machine isn’t moving correctly, the rest of the cogs must compensate to support it. This leads to imbalances and overuse injuries in other areas of your body, like your hips, knees and back.
Incorporating glute-specific activation exercises into your training program will get your muscles fired up and ready to go before your next run. Coach Nate takes us through a ten-minute glute workout consisting of three exercises to build stronger glutes.
1. Glute Bridge March
- Lay flat on your back with your feet on the floor, legs bent in front of you.
- Press your feet into the floor, raising your hips up.
- Alternative lifting (or “marching”) one knee into the air at a time.
- Press your hands into the ground, squeezing your shoulder blades together to give yourself more stability through your spine.
- Make sure your hips are not dropping or rotating side to side as you lift your knee in the air.
- You should feel the burn in your hamstrings, glutes and abs.
- Continue “marching” for 30 seconds, before moving on to the next exercise.
2. Single Leg Taps
- Get into a plank position on the ground, with your hands and feet holding you up off the ground. There should be a straight line from your ankles, knees and shoulders to your ears.
- Your feet should be hip width apart and your palms shoulder width apart, spreading your fingers out over the ground for some extra balance and stability.
- Squeeze your core, glutes and quad muscles to create a tight, straight line. Squeezing your quads and glutes is super important for creating tension and maintaining your position. Otherwise, your hips might drop and your low back might excessively arch.
- Lift your left leg off the ground by engaging your glute and hamstring, keeping it straight with your toes pointed downwards.
- Alternate with your left leg and your right leg. Your arms, core and opposite leg should be doing the work to keep you stabilized.
- Your hamstrings and glutes should be firing every time you lift your leg.
- As you lift your legs, don’t forget to keep your body in a tight, straight line!
- Continue for 30 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.
3. Single-leg Deadlifts
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Slowly shift your weight onto your left foot and lift your right foot off the ground.
- Slowly hinge at the hips, keeping your back straight and sticking your right leg, slightly bent, out behind you.
- Your left knee should be ever-so-slightly bent, allowing you to bend forward at the waist without loading your quads.
- You should be feeling this exercise in your left glute and hamstring. You might also feel it in your left foot and calf, as you balance on your left leg.
- As you hinge forward, let your arms fall in front of you, pausing before your hands touch your shins. Stop when you feel your low back rounding. Your back should always stay perfectly straight!
- Slowly return back up to the starting position as you bring your right leg, still bent, out in front of you.
- Repeat for 30 seconds, focusing on the quality of the reps rather than the quantity—don’t rush!
- Switch legs and repeat.