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Strengthen Those Glutes

Are you like me and suffer with weak glutes?

One thing I do suffer from is weak glutes and I will hold my hand up and admit I do not do enough strength and conditioning work. Something I’m looking to improve upon during 2018. I mentioned on social media f I was suffering a sore right glute. I know the reason why it’s sore (over doing it on the treadmill) so I’m putting in some extra work at the gym this week to strengthen them. I thought I would share with you a little bit of knowledge I’ve learnt and some exercises I’ve used to help me. Please note I’m no expert but I’ve found these have helped.

The glutes do not propel your body forward during a run. The glutes serve the seemingly benign action of keeping the hips centered while you run. But centered hips means that your knees, ankles and feet are all in alignment, too.

The first step in getting your glutes to fire during running is to become aware of them. If you don’t know what it feels like when they contract, then you won’t be able to notice if they are firing or not. Learn how to contract your glutes by sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and your back straight. Squeeze your buttocks as you feel the back of your thighs lift gently from the floor. Then, contract one side of your glutes at a time. Repeat the seated gluteal contractions for a minute or so and then try to create the sensation while you are standing up.

To get you started, try working in this short strengthening routine 2–3 times per week. Complete 10–15 reps of each exercise for 2–3 total sets.

Donkey Kicks
Get on the ground on all fours with your hands and knees shoulder-width apart. Lift your right knee off the ground as you kick your foot upward so your thigh is in line with your back and the bottom of your foot is facing skyward. You should feel your core, especially your glutes, engaging during this motion. Bring your leg back down, repeat and switch legs.

Glute Bridges
Lie on your back on the ground with your arms at your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your backside off the ground until you form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Push your heels into the ground, and feel your glutes stabilizing your body. Hold for two seconds, lower your body back down and repeat.

Side Leg Lifts
Lie on your right side with your legs straight and stacked on top of each other. You can rest your head on top of your right arm, and put your left hand on your hip or on the ground to help balance your body. Lift the top leg straight up as far as is comfortable, then lower back down. Repeat and switch sides.

Body-weight Squats
Stand with your arms extended in front of your body and your feet a little wider than shoulder width with your toes angled somewhat outward. Lower your backside down toward the ground as if you were going to sit. Lower until your quads are parallel with the ground, then stand back up and repeat.

Clamshells
Lie on your right side with your knees bent on top of each other and your right arm under your head to support it. Keeping your feet together, open the clamshell by lifting your top knee up. While your hips will rotate during this exercise, your pelvis and core should remain stable. Close the clamshell, repeat and switch sides.

Single Leg Squats
Stand with your arms extended in front of your body and your feet a little wider than shoulder width. Pick your right foot up off the ground, and extend that leg straight out in front of your body. Squat down as far as you can while balancing on the left leg, keeping that knee and foot aligned. Bring your body back up, repeat and switch legs.

Do strength-training exercises targeting the glutes at least twice per week on nonconsecutive days for one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. If you suspect your glutes are weak and you aren’t seeing any difference after a month or two of glute-specific training, seek out the advice of a physical therapist or a personal trainer.

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