Welcome back to another edition of Runner’s High. If you haven’t been with me here before, I’m Jesse Funk, and we talk about everything running here on this channel. Today, we’re going to talk about something that may be near and dear to your heart, do glutes make you run faster? If you hadn’t been with me here on the channel before, as I mentioned, we talked about running every Tuesday and Thursday. So, hit that subscribe button, stick around for more videos in the future, as we talk about important things like do glutes make you run faster.
Now, I think we can all appreciate a very well-rounded glute. But beyond the aesthetics of having a nice butt, you can look at yourself in the mirror all you want. But really, what you want is to cross the finish line faster, right? So, looking good doesn’t necessarily make you get there. But I’m going to give you some evidence that, indeed, doing all those squats and making your glutes stronger, is going to make you run faster.
The first thing we have to understand about the function our glutes play and running, is that they’re not just one muscle. It’s actually several muscles, glute medius, minimus, and maximus, and they all play a particular function. Now, something I’ve had trouble with recently, and this went along with sciatic nerve pain, or at least I thought it was, was a weak glute medius, which is kind of a stabilizing muscle in running. And that is very, very important when you’re hopping from one foot to another for a long period of time, because that’s what running is right?
We’re taking a jump from one foot to the next foot and over and over and over and over again. And if you aren’t stabilized then injury is going to go up. And if you’re injured, you’re not going to be particularly fast. So, making sure that your glutes all around, including that glute medius, are strong will prevent injuries. And that in fact makes you faster if nothing else.
But what’s more important about stabilizing is that when you’re stabilized, that means you can transfer energy more efficiently. Now, I’ve talked about this in other videos, where we’re talking about other muscle groups. But you have to remember that from your foot all the way to your head is a chain of events. Your feet touch the ground but you have to move your entire body. And I’ve talked about this in regards to your core, but it really applies to everything.
If there are any weak links in your chain, in this case, your glutes, then you may not be able to transfer the energy from the ground pushing off all the way to your head as efficiently as possible. So, making sure that those stabilizing muscles in your glutes are going to be stronger, will help in that chain to help you transfer energy and be faster. But that isn’t the only reason to having stronger glutes will make you run faster.
The other big thing that you probably want to think about is about hip extension. Now, we’re talking about a long stride, we’re not talking about reaching out front and kind of messing with your stride, hitting your heel on the ground. When we think about a long stride, we’re actually thinking about hip extension, which is when your leg comes out of the back, pushes off, and gives a lot of power.
Now we like to think people with nice calves, they’re really putting a lot of power into the ground. But really, and if you think about this, this makes sense. Larger muscles are going to produce more power. So, a lot of your power in that hip extension comes from your glutes and your hamstrings and how they work together. So, making sure that your glutes are stronger, gives you the ability to push off harder and effectively makes that hip extension longer.
Now, this is something I talked about early, early on in the Smart Athlete Podcast also found here on this channel, so hit that subscribe button, with my guest Ben Yocum. Now, Ben has his Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology, if I remember correctly, and he actually studies running biomechanics to try and figure out what’s the most efficient way to run, who are the fastest runners, do they have similar biomechanics?
And one of the things that he found through his research is that having a long push-off, which is that hip extension I was just talking about, isn’t necessarily the fastest way to go. It’s actually been confirmed in other ways by other guests like Marco Nicoli when we talk about ground contact time.
But when you think about hip extension, you want that good power, but you also want a fast return or fast turnover of that leg. So, even though I had said, as I just did, like a minute ago, you want a good push-off, good hip extension, you don’t want to just let that lay trail back there and kind of float. That’s really what you don’t want.
You want to bring it back to turnover faster. The explanation of this is really better left to Ben himself so I’m going to link to that at the end of this video. You can listen to Ben talk about the push-off, and he makes a little demonstration of how you should be doing it.
But know that your glutes do play a role in this and having them stronger, creates that extra power to make you go faster. It’s not just for endurance runners like me, and probably like you, but also sprinters. And carl lewis is the example that Ben gives on the best biomechanical form he’s ever seen in the videos with that. So, you can also look up videos of Carl Lewis, I can’t show them because I don’t own them. But that’s a good way to check out running biomechanics besides watching my video on that. So, let’s go on to another reason, having glutes makes you run faster.
Now, this last reason is really kind of aligned with the very first one I gave you. But that is that if you have strong glutes, they’re basically your anchor point for your entire pelvis. So, the area where your leg is attached to your body, that’s your anchor point. And it makes sense that’s where they’re located. A lot of things make sense when we start to think about the physics of it, right; fulcrums and levers and how our body works in space and motion.
But beyond that, let’s get past a physics lesson. If you have strong glutes, that means that they are going to help you move in space because they’re that anchor point. Again, because they are in part stabilizing that area, but also granting you the ability to push power. So, they do both, that stabilizing and that power production. And then anchor all of that together from your feet all the way to your core, basically, your entire leg as it were, so that you can produce power and move the rest of your body.
So, if you want to know more about biomechanics, listen to Ben explain that. I’m going to link that on the screen here shortly. But if you want to see more episodes of Runner’s High like this, and the Smart Athlete Podcast where I interview experts like Ben on all kinds of topics that I don’t know a ton about, but they sure do, again, subscribe to the channel. Stick around for more, and I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.