Four Easy Ways to Engage Your Glutes While Running (2023)

When it comes to important muscle groups for us runners, the glutes are at the top of the list! They provide strength and stability around the hips and are a powerful source of propulsion when running.

However, runners like you and me are often told by our physical therapists that we don't engage our glutes enough when we run, which can lead to running injuries ranging from plantar fasciitis to back pain and many other common running injuries. rush.

Glute Activation Workouts for Runners>>Free Download [PDF]

The question is of course:

What can we all do to make sure we are using our glutes more effectively when we run?

Well, the good news is that there are some powerful running tips and techniques that you can practice on your next run to help you properly activate your glutes while you run.

Running: it's all in the hips<- Find out what often happens when our buttocks don't engage properly when we run...

In this article, I'm going to share what I've learned when it comes to learning how to use the glutes while running...

How to use your glutes while running

I recently shared a video detailing the different steps I take with runners to help them use their glutes more effectively while running:

Download the Glute Support Exercise Example Worksheet for Runners here:

Glute Activation Workouts for Runners>>Free Download [PDF]

In the video above, I mention that there are a number of different phases to getting your glutes fired up while running.

  1. Master the basic glute activation exercises and learn what activating your glutes should feel like
  2. Improve lumbar-pelvic posture and trunk control
  3. Practice running cues to help you use your glutes while running.
  4. Reinforce the activation pattern of the glutes with races and specific training

Let's look at each of these stages individually and explore a bit more.

1. Learn to activate your glutes with basic isolation exercises

It is widely accepted to have thatStrong glutes help runners prevent injuries.

(Video) How to Engage Your Glutes for Running

However, there is one big mistake runners often make when trying to correct glute dysfunction and strengthen the glutes...

Most of us know that exercises like squats and deadlifts in general are great for strengthening the glutes.

However, what these great compound exercises do NOT teach us ishow to activate your glutes in the first place.

Experience tells me that if I take a fairly quad-dominant runner (a runner whose quads and hip flexors are disproportionately strong compared to their glutes) and ask them to show me a set of 10 squats, the odds are off. it will be such that they will use the quadriceps more than the glutes.

The human body is excellent at cheating and playing to its strengths!

If I put this runner through a regular squat routine with the goal of strengthening his glutes without working on improving his form, he would end up strengthening only his quads and worsening the existing muscle imbalance.

If you've been told that you need to work on strengthening your glutes for running, you should definitely check out mine.12 week glute starter program.

Build a solid glute activation foundation

Because of this, an important step in improving glute function is learning how to consciously activate your glutes and what activating them should feel like before you can focus on technique to activate your glutes during the exercise in question, whether it's squatting or running. !

So while many of us would jump right into squats, deadlifts, and lunges to work the glutes, I encourage you to focus on the basics and build a solid foundation of good pulling patterns on which to build more "functional" exercises.

Glute isolation exercises like the straight leg lateral raises shown in the video below would be a great place to start!

For more basic glute exercises, check out the link below...

Three glute activation exercises to run stronger<- Try them at home today!

(Video) how to use your glutes while running | glute activation tips | run easier

2. Correct your posture to put your buttocks in the proper position to do their job

Posture is key to using your glutes effectively while running (and walking, for that matter)!

Specifically, the way you support and control your pelvic and lower back areas.

In fact, the lumbar-pelvic region is such an important junction in the body that any posture problem here can cause head-to-toe problems.

Especially when I think about the glutes, one of the biggest problems I see is the tendency for runners to tilt their pelvis forward to an excessive degree.

You can usually easily see the pronounced arch that this forward pelvic tilt creates in a runner's lower back.

Four Easy Ways to Engage Your Glutes While Running (1)

An anterior pelvic tilt positions the gluteus maximus,gluteus maximusin a biomechanically disadvantaged position that reduces its ability to act effectively on the hip joint.

If you find yourself "pushing your butt out" or arching your lower back as you run, look for two of the main reasons runners end up in this position:

  1. Tight hip flexors push you into an anterior pelvic tilt
  2. Lack of central control resulting in poor dynamic control of lumbar-pelvic posture

How to correct an anterior pelvic tilt

If you know you have trouble with tight hip flexors, this is one to check out.this previous articledetailing how (and why) it should work to improve hip extension.

However, if you feel like pelvic control is your issue, check out the video below where Holly shares a simple hint you can use to work on your core joint to help you achieve a better pelvic position while running:

As you gain a better sense of pelvic position and are able to better control your pelvic posture with your core while running, your glutes will move into a position of mechanical advantage to exert their power around your hips.

Here is an example of one of my runners using this simple running technique cue.<- Check out the before and after comparison!

3. Improve your running form to use your glutes more effectively

This is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to learning how to use your glutes while running.

(Video) How to Use Your Glutes while Running

I cannot stress this enough:

You can do all the right glute activation exercises and posture control exercises, but only when you take the time to improve your running form and adopt a style that makes it easier for your body to use your glutes while running. you will feel a noticeable improvement.

You need to work on improving your running form on a regular basis to transfer the benefits of all the glute activation exercises and poses into your own running.

Think about a mindful approach to running form while showing your body how to use your newly conditioned glutes for running! Practice will make this new pattern a habit.

How to improve your running form to run using your glutes

In addition to being aware of your running posture, there's a lot of focus on raising your feet a little higher as you run and feeling more knee lift for the given pace you're running.

This video explains in detail how to improve your running form:

Correct Your Running Form >> Free Training Guide [PDF]

These super easy focus points will help you create slightly more hip flexion during the swing phase of your run (more on catwalk terminology here) for himcross stretch reflex, it will actually help you improve the quality of activation of the hip extensors, including the gluteals, in the standing leg.

As counterintuitive as it may seem to those of us who have studied functional anatomy, running techniques that increase hip flexion, such as "pushing your knees forward," actually make it a bit easier to squeeze your glutes while running. .

Take time to change the way you run; It is a process that must occur over time. Give your body time to adjust, don't force it!

Proper Running Technique: Six Ways to Run More Efficiently<- These tips to improve your running style would be a great place to start!

4. Reinforce the activation pattern of the glutes with races and specific training

Once you've taught your body how to properly use your glutes when you run, take the time to reinforce this activation pattern regularly with specific running exercises and workouts.

There are all sorts of options you can choose to accomplish this; each with the goal of encouraging you to run "from the hips" instead of shuffling with a low toe and knee stance.

(Video) Are your GLUTES even working when you run? (HOW TO FIND OUT)

Two of my favorite ways to reinforce the desired neuromuscular pattern are:

  • hill repeats and/or stair runs
    There are many reasons to include different types of hill work in your training, from the strength you can gain to hills that allow for "lower impact velocity work." In this case, I want to look at hill reps as a technical development opportunity.

    After a good warm up, try running 10 x 20 seconds up a moderately steep hill at 5K race pace. Focus on form throughout, returning to the beginning at the end of each repetition.

    The nature of the hill means that with each step you have to lift your foot and knees higher than on the flat, forcing you to use the extensor reflex of the sacrum more effectively and use your glutes to propel yourself forward.

    You can also do this when going up a flight of stairs... be careful!

  • Adding steps to the beginning and end of a running session
    This is one of my absolute favorite tips!

    You can add sets of "steps" at the end of a warm-up (when preparing for a more intense session) or at the end of a long or easy weekday run.

    I especially like adding them at the end of a long run, as those short, precise, technique-oriented running efforts are great for reminding your body how to run on tired legs with good form and posture.

    At the end of a run, try to run 4-6 sprints of 60-100 meters at a pace that picks up from an easy pace to 5K race pace. Remember the stance, keep a high cadence, kick your feet up, and ride your arms!

Running Strides - Neuromuscular training for runners<- Learn more about "steps" here.

Let me know if you have any questions!

I hope this guide to using your glutes while running helps you with your training.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below and add your own experiences and views...

Good luck!

Read more>>How to activate the glutes before running

Last updated on September 24, 2021.

(Video) How to Use Your Glutes When Running - Glute Activation for Runners


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