Glute strength is one of the most important aspects of a runner’s training. Keeping your glutes engaged is a great way to prevent injury and increase power, not to mention it helps keep your hips and trunk stable, which will allow for a more efficient transfer of force through your body. This not only improves performance but also reduces injury risk.
Jessica O’Connell is a 2016 Olympian in the 5,000m and a trainer at GRIT athletic coaching who firmly believes in working on glute and hamstring strength – the powerhouses of your posterior chain. Below is a 10-minute routine that will help keep runners healthy and powerful. All you need is a mini band, socks and a slippery floor (or a set of sliders if you want to be fancy).
Lie on your back with socks on, sliders under your heels or with a towel underfoot. From there, bend your knees and draw your hips up while bringing your feet toward your butt. Slowly extend your knees and push your feet away from your body, lengthening your hamstrings, before drawing your foot back in.
Lying on your back with your feet flat, bridge your hips up to form a flat line between your knees and your shoulders. Try to raise your hips using your glutes, not your hamstrings. It may help to squeeze your butt before you bridge up. Start this exercise double-legged and progress to a single leg, then a single leg with a pause at the top.
Single-leg wall squat
Place a mini-band around your ankles or thighs. From there, engage your core and drop into a slight squat. Walk slowly forward and backward, using your glutes. Keep going until your glutes burn.
Slider leg extension
Stand on one leg with the other foot on a slider, over a towel or in sock feet on a slippery floor. Next, lunge sideways and then return to standing, then lunge backward, again returning to standing and lunging across into a curtsey, once again returning to standing. Remember not to lean too far forward and let your glutes do the work.