So, you may have watched my other video giving you strength training tips for runners or maybe you didn’t, and you’re simply here of your own volition. Whatever the case, I’m going to give you my three best glute exercises for runners.
Like I said before, maybe you watched another video, maybe you didn’t. If you didn’t, you’re going to want to stick around because I’m Jesse Funk. This is a show I call Runner’s High. And I come out with new videos every Tuesdays and Thursdays. So, hit the subscribe button, stick around for more videos, and maybe it’s over. It’s actually over there, pointed in the wrong direction. In any case, and the subscribe button, it will help me feel a little bit better about myself coming out with new videos all the time. And you’re going to get great tips about running from me, who is a veteran in the competitive running industry.
Okay. So, let’s get on to glute exercises for today. So, you may be wondering, why should I be doing glute exercises at all? Yeah, it’s nice to have a nice backside. I mean, everybody can appreciate one. But generally speaking, I don’t know about you, but I’m not often not as concerned about how I look as to how I perform. And that is exactly why you need to focus on glute exercises, because they come with several benefits.
The largest is going to be stabilizing your pelvis, which, if you haven’t heard me talking about this before, you have to think about your body as a chain, where when we’re running, we’re making contact with the ground with our feet. But our feet aren’t doing the whole work and our legs aren’t doing the whole work. We have to transfer that energy all the way from the ground to the top of our head. So, every link in our chain, that is our body, needs to be strong.
And because our legs are doing all the moving, our glutes are what do the stabilizing of all that motion. So, when we get stronger glutes, that means they have the greater ability to stabilize what we’re doing underneath us. When we’re able to stabilize it, we improve our running economy. You may hear people talking about running economy and think, what the heck, what does that actually mean? How am I more economical?
It means that the amount of energy you have to expend to go a particular speed is reduced when you improve your running economy. So, think of it kind of like stabilizers in a car. If you have really nice shocks, and you’re going over a bumpy road, you can continue to move forward. But if you remove those shocks, you’re going to be jostling all over the place, you’re not going to be going as fast in a straight line.
Similarly, your butt is kind of the shocks of your running system, stabilizes you, allows you to improve your running economy, spend less energy to move forward. That also has the effect of making you faster, because say, this is not how we measure energy, but just go with me for a second. Say you spend 10 units of energy right now, and you improve your running economy so that now you only have to spend eight units of energy to go the same speed.
Now, when you spend the 10, you go faster. So, that’s why it’s important to improve running economy because it gives you a power boost, even though you’re not any stronger. The other side effect here of doing these glute exercises is that your glutes do get stronger and they do produce more power. So, we get the double benefit of both improving our running economy and getting stronger so that we can use more top end power, making that top end power even more effective. So, let’s get on to those three actual glute exercises now.
Let’s start with a tried and true favorite. This is going to be squats or once you get done with squats and bodyweight squats, you can make these a variation. If you have weights, you can hold weights to your sides, kettlebells held to your chest, you can hold dumbbells to your sides. Or if you want to continue with bodyweight, what you do to progress is to actually add instability. So, that means going to single leg squat.
So, let’s demonstrate here. It’s going to be feet roughly shoulder width apart, and you want to sit backwards like you’re sitting into a chair or sitting onto a couch like little mean narrating right now. You don’t want your knees to cross the plane that goes in front of your toes. So, if you look at your toes, and you imagine a plane that goes straight up and I don’t mean an aeroplane, I mean as in, if there’s a sheet of paper from your toes straight up to infinity, you don’t want your knees to cross that line. Repeat, rinse and repeat as many times as you’d like. I typically do these in sets of 10. Or sometimes my coach has me do them in time intervals and it’s as many as you can get into a time interval. It depends on you, your goals, where you are in the season, exactly what you want to do, but this is a staple for sure.
Number two. This is the newest addition to my particular strength routine for this season when we really want to work on my glutes, and that is the single leg deadlift. Now, you can do these without weight or with weight holding dumbbells in your hands. Do not feel ashamed or embarrassed about not doing these with weight. I started when I was doing these without weight at all, just to make sure, hey, I’ve got my balance. And where I was glute wise, I actually had a glute injury early in the season. It didn’t stop me from running but it needed to be repaired was that it helped strengthen my glutes without any weight at all.
So, I kind of recommend personally starting there, no weight, and then going to using weight. As you improve, make sure you have balance, have good coordination. So, what you’re going to do, stand up straight, arms at your sides, you can pretend you’ve got little weights in your hand, as I do not have any weights in my hand here. You make a little fists if you’d like to. Now, you’re going to bend over at the waist keeping your back flat in your leg extended in the same plane as your back. Bend over, reach towards the ground, kind of come to a parallel position here, 90 degrees, and then come back up to a standing position. Rinse and repeat for more reps.
And on to the last one. This has been a staple for me for a number of years, when I would get little issues because of the bike position I had when I was training triathlon. Sometimes my back and glutes would be a little too tight and then I’d have to kind of work out my glutes to make them stronger so that I can stay in that arrow position for triathlon. And that is the single leg glute bridge or glute bridges.
This is where you may have seen people in the gym, they don’t want to give you any kind of eye contact when they’re doing this because some people feel embarrassed, but you shouldn’t. This is a great glute exercise. So, you’re going to lay on the ground, you can get a mat if you’d like to, you don’t absolutely need one, but it can help you from sliding around. I know that if I’m on our hardwood floor, and I do not have any kind of mat that I’ll continue to push myself backwards until my head’s ramming into the wall. So, having a mat is very useful for me. I have luckily borrowed my wife’s mat. But if you have a pink mat, that’s perfectly fine, too.
So, laying on the ground, what you need to do is push your pelvis up towards the sky. And then you come to this kind of almost 45 degree angle from your legs to your body and then go back down. Doing the single leg version is just that, you leave one leg on the ground, and then you leave the other one extended out in front of you as you push up. And again, it depends on your strength, where you are, which one you should do, but you could always start with both feet on the ground.
If that’s easy, you can do three sets of 10 or something like that. Try the single leg version, see how that feels. Don’t try to do the exact same amount as you did before. Cut it in half, see if you’re sore the next day and adjust accordingly. So, those are my three best glute exercises for runners, why you need to do them, and now you know how to do them.
So, are there any other kind of exercises you’d like to see, anything you’re struggling with, something that’s weak, some kind of thing you want to improve? Let me know down in the comments below. I’d love to make a video just for you. I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.