Glute Activation Exercise & Why it’s Important for Runners

Glutes are one of the most underutilized muscles when it comes to running. If your glutes aren’t activating like they should, you’re missing out on power and opening your body up for injuries.

Why are your Glutes Inactive?

During exercise, our strongest muscles tend to engage first. This means that for runners the quads, calves, and hamstrings will fire long before the glutes get involved. It also doesn’t help that most people sit for long durations during the day, which causes glutes to become inactive. When it comes time to go for a run, these muscles don’t just immediately turn back on. Because the glutes got used to being inactive, less muscle fibers will be recruited and less force will be outputted when you attempt to engage them.

Increase Efficiency & Prevent Injuries

Glute muscles help stabilize your hips and keep your legs, knees, and pelvis aligned. Having strong glutes will ensure your running mechanics are on point, which makes your running more efficient and helps prevent injuries. Weak glutes are shown to lead to issues like shin splints, runner’s knee, and IT band syndrome.

The Power of the Glute

Glutes are a powerful muscle that can add a lot of force into your run. But, if your glutes aren’t firing properly, you’re missing out on this added power. Plus, when glutes aren’t activating, other muscles have to take on all the work and become exhausted more quickly. When other areas of the body have to compensate, the likelihood of overuse increases.

As an athlete who competes in Ironman events, Heather Jackson spends a lot of time running. Her races include a half or full marathon, in addition to a swimming and biking event. With that high of a workload, it’s important to make sure every muscle fiber is doing its part. Glutes are no exception. Even for those who have a more normal running routine, there are many reasons that strong and active glutes are necessary. Pro triathlete Heather Jackson shares her go-to exercise to get her glutes firing before a run.

glute activation
Switch legs and work other side

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