The gluteals - maximums, medius, and minimus - are one of the key muscle groups involved in correct biomechanics for running. They help us control stride length and stride frequency and improve our stability. These five exercises will get your bum working, helping to reduce your risk of injury, and get you in tip top shape to improve your running performance.
Try 20 reps, in 2-3 sets or 10 reps each side of each exercise. Don't forget to engage your core and breathe!
1. Gluteal Bridge
This exercise focuses on the downwards movement, leading into a bridge and into a leg extension.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your arms at your sides, palms facing down.
- Squeeze your glutes and slowly raise your bottom off the ground until your body forms a straight line.
- Extend one leg toward the ceiling, but don’t let your hip drop. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, bring your foot back down to the ground and slowly lower yourself back to the floor.
2. Side Lying Clam
This is a very popular and effective physio exercise.
- Lie on your side, legs together, keep both knees bent and flex the hips to 30 degrees.
- Keep your ankles together and separate your knees by raising your top knee.
- Bring your top knee back down to complete the movement. Keep your hips stacked - don’t let the top one roll back during the movement.
3. Leg Lifts on Hands and Knees
A great alternative for individuals who may have difficulty performing squats.
- Begin on your hands and knees – hands in line with your shoulders and knees in line with your hips.
- Extend from your hip and keep your knees bent, breathe out and lift your leg up until the thigh is parallel to the floor, foot flat and parallel to the ceiling with the knee bent at a 90 degree angle.
- Breathe in and slowly lower your knee back to the ground to complete the movement.
4. Single Leg Balance on a Stability Disc
This will not only strengthen your gluteals but will also improve your balance.
- Place the stability disc on a flat surface. Stand on one foot on the disc.
- Find the balancing point and hold still. Maintain the stance for 10 seconds at first, gradually work your way up to 30 seconds or more.
Tip: Find something directly in front of you to focus on.
5. Single Leg Squats
This is a great test of leg strength and balance.
- Stand on one leg.
- Start to sit back slowly into a squatting position on one leg. Keep your back straight, chest up, hips go back and knee stays behind the toes.
- Only go back as far as you feel comfortable.
- Using your glutes, extend back up to starting position.
- Switch legs and repeat.
Once you have done these for 2-6 weeks, a couple of times a week, you can move onto more functional exercises including:
- Swiss Ball Leg Extension, Curl and Squat
- Moving narrow and wide leg squat
- Lunge and multidirectional lunge
- Suspension training/ViPR Squats & Lunges