Gluteus maximus (yellow), Gluteus medius (blue), Gluteus minimus (red)
I. Why Strong Glutes? II. Gluteus Exercises
I. Why Strong Glutes for runners (and other athletes)? Because...
The gluteal muscles (buttocks), often called the powerhouse muscles of running, are essential to the running motion, helping to propel the body forward, helping the hip extend and lift the thigh off the ground, and keeping the body stable…..
While essential to running, the gluteals are not as active as the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves in daily activities
Weak hips have been linked to injuries ranging from Achilles tendonitis (Smith et al., Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2014) as well as runner’s knee, iliotibial-band syndrome, and even shin splints.
While strengthening gluteal muscles is important for all, women in particular should focus on them. One study on gender- and age-related differences in lower body running mechanics found that injuries related to weak gluteal muscles (patellofemoral pain syndrome, ITB syndrome, and tibial stress fractures) are twice as prevalent in women as in male runners (Phinyomark et al, PLOS One, 2014).
II. Gluteal Routine Work up to 2 X 12 repetitions of at least three of the six strengthening exercises below, three times a week. (If unable to perform 2 X 10 single exercises, begin with less. Use the proper form to target the appropriate muscle groups than to perform all repetitions.)
Clam Shells - with or without resistance bands. Muscles: gluteus maximus, piriformis, hip external rotators.