Strong glutes are of the utmost important for any runner of any level not just in performance but in reducing the risk of injury. As we run, our glutes hold our pelvis level and steady, extend our hips, propel us forward, and maintain alignment in our legs and torso. Our glutes are a pivital part of our kinetic chain and when they are the weak link, it can cause a whole slew of issues, not just a pain in the butt (sorry couldn’t resist a little glute humor). Many common running issues are often linked back to weak glutes including IT band syndrome, runner’s knee, low back pain, and even Achilles tendonitis and shinsplints. So as you can see, it’s incredibly important to keep the glutes on and strong.
One of the easiest and most convenient ways to activate your glutes are through tube walks and steps. This type of resistance training only requires a small tube or band placed around the ankles and just a small area to move around in. And because these exercises are super simple (and super effective) any athlete of any level can perform them at any point of their training (as long as they have been physically cleared to engage in exercise from their medical professional, of course).
The following exercises are great to include in your dynamic warm up to activate your glutes prior to a lower body lift, which is what we often do with our athletes here at The Athlete Factory. They can also be incorporated into your strength and conditioning circuit(s), which is great for beginners requiring little to no added weight at their current phase of training.
Give the following exercises a try during your next strength training sesh. Be forewarned, though, you may feel a good burn and even experience some delayed on set soreness the day or so to follow.
Tube Walks (aka Monster Walks): Forward
Begin with band around ankles, feet hip distance apart and knees slightly bent. Take a step about 6in forward and 6in outward, drawing feet back to base position (hip distance apart) and repeat on other side. Begin with a light resistance band complete 2 sets of 10 each leg.
Tube Walks: Backward
Basically, the same thing as the forward tube walk just backward. Be sure to not turn your feet or hips out, keep them facing forward as you step back and out.
Tube Walks: Lateral
Begin in your base position with your feet hip distance apart and your knees slightly bent. Take about a 6in step out to the side with one foot, bring your opposite back in to return to your base. Continue the steps on that one side before repeating exercise on opposite side. Begin with a light resistance band doing 2 sets of 10 each.
Banded Step Outs: Posterior
Begin with band around ankles and in base position. Step one foot about 12in out and about 4-6in back. Keep hips and toes facing forward. Return to base and repeat on one side before performing on other. 2 sets of 10 each.
Banded Step Outs: Transverse
Begin with band around ankles and in base position. Step one foot about 12in back and 6in out turning foot in a perpendicular direction from front foot. Keep front foot firmly planted with knee facing forward. Return to base repeating on same side before completing on opposite side. 2 sets of 10 each.
There are several other great ways to get those glutes working for you, so stay tuned for additional posts to come!
If you have any questions about these or any other exercise, feel free to contact Coach Christina today.