Muscles rippling, rock-hard calves, sweat dripping, glistening in the morning sun and adrenaline coursing through the body.
Runners are the epitome of all these and more. But as is clear of all things that are sports, runners need stamina, and they require a strong set of core muscles that can support their running. While cardiovascular and basic leg strengthening exercises are a necessity for the continued prowess and stamina of these runners, the glute muscles are an oft ignored muscle group that need to be looked into. The gluteal muscles support our core strength, align the legs, pelvis and the torso and thus propel us forward when we run. But most exercise training sessions that are undertaken for runners, often do not stress on gluteal muscles. The result being that the calves, back and the thigh muscles are often more strong than the glutes.
In order for the gluteal muscles to equal the strength of the calf and thigh muscles, there is a need to include glute exercises in the training sessions. In the following section, we will deal with exactly that.
Best Glute Exercises for Runners
Glute exercises for athletes will focus on working both the upper and the lower glute muscles. The varied forms of exercises that are undertaken for the same, help in building the strength of these muscle groups. What are some of the exercises that can be undertaken? The following are some of the upper glute exercises, as well as the lower glute exercises that you can look into. These include:
- Leg Lifts
- Donkey Kicks
- Classic Bridge
- Single Leg Dead Lift
- Wood Chop Exercise
- Lie on your side with a wall supporting your back and lower back.
- Bend the legs at a 90 degree angle so that the soles of your feet are flat against the wall.
- The shoulders and hips should be flat against the wall as well. Keep your feet together.
- With the feet together, raise the thighs and take them as close to the wall as you can manage.
- Do 5 repetitions of the same, each lasting 10 seconds.
- Without any rest, do the same 20 more times.
- Then shift to the opposite side and do the same on the other leg.
- When you get comfortable with this exercise, increase the difficulty level by adding an elastic band around your thighs.
- Get down on all fours. Make sure there’s an exercise mat to support the knees.
- Straighten the back out. This is your neutral position from where you’ll begin.
- In a slow and controlled movement, raise your right leg, taking it above your buttocks. Try to achieve a 90 degree angle between the calves and hamstring.
- Maintain leveled hips while you take your leg higher.
- When the leg is on top, try to take it a little higher to feel a stretch in the thigh and glutes.
- Lower the leg but do not let it come down fully.
- Do 10-15 repetitions.
- Repeat the same on the left leg.
- To increase the resistance, you can add ankle weights to the legs.
- Not many exercises work the glute muscles quite like this one does.
- Lie on your back on the floor and bend your knees so that the soles are flat against the floor.
- Maintain a distance of 5 inches between both feet and take your feet about 12 inches away from the butt.
- With the back straight, push the abdominal muscles into the floor and pressing the shoulders and heels into the ground, tighten the glute muscles and lift your buttocks and torso off the floor.
- The lift should form a straight line with your knees, shoulders and torso.
- Maintain the position for 5 seconds and release in a slow and controlled movement.
- Repeat 10-15 times.
- To increase the difficulty level, place a weight against the abdomen.
- To begin, stand with both legs on the ground, then slowly raise the left leg to take it behind you.
- Balance yourself well and keep the shoulders and back straight.
- Now bend forward and keeping your arms straight, reach for the ground.
- Count till 5 and come back to the original position.
- Repeat 5-10 times on both legs.
- One can use weights on the ankles or carry a medicine ball in the hands while bending. This will increase the level of difficulty and work the glute muscles more.
- Stand on both feet and maintain a shoulder width distance between the feet.
- Carry a weight in your hands.
- With the weight in hand, imitate the action of using an axe and bring the weight down between the knees.
- Be careful when you do this and do not use a jerking action.
- Make sure that the knees do not bend as you come forward.
- When you reach the last position, squeeze the glute muscles and pull in your abdominal muscles and using this as support, come back to the starting position.
- While coming up, extend the lower back, then lift the shoulders and finally bring the weight above your head.
- Repeat 10 times as a part of a set and do about 2-3 sets.
- Increase the number of sets as you get accustomed to the routine.
With these glute exercises for runners in perfect order, arranging a routine that includes the same is all that remains to be done. Then no matter what anyone says, you know you’re pulling off the running like no one else’s business.