It might not seem like your glutes are too important to your form, but they’re responsible for keeping everything stabilized and aligned, and ensuring your workouts are effective and injury-free. Unfortunately, your office and self-care relaxation habits can create some issues that hurt your running game. “If you’re sitting at a desk for hours every day, your glutes are doing nothing and are kind of learning not to work,” Sandi Nypaver of blog Running Wild says in a YouTube video. “They can generate a lot of power. Unfortunately, most people don’t take full advantage of them.”
“If you’re sitting at a desk for hours every day, your glutes are doing nothing and are kind of learning not to work.” —Sandi Nypaver of Running Wild
Keeping your glutes strong is important because otherwise, you’ll feel the not-so-fun aftermath post-run. “If your glutes aren’t activating while you’re running, you might feel tightness in your lower back, hamstrings, or calves,” she says. “Your body is trying to generate more power from your calves because you’re not getting the power you need from your glutes.” To solve the problem, Nypaver recommends practicing proper form and activating your glutes before you hit the pavement, which helps you remember to use them during your workouts—and there are a few tricks to help.
Try these 3 ways to keep your glutes strong and activated during your runs.
1. Check in with your hips
The next time you’re running, determine whether you’re dropping your hips a lot—something you’ll easily be able to see if you film yourself and analyze the footage. According to Nypaver, a little drop is normal but a lot is an easy-to-read sign that you need to activate your hips.
2. Stand on one leg and squeeze
One of the easiest exercises you can do to activate your glutes is stand on one leg and let the other hip drop, then squeeze your glutes to realign your hips. Then, repeat with the other leg and do a few more reps before heading out to claim a new PR.
3. Practice your awkward walking skills
Another trick that will help keep your glutes activated is doing what Nypaver calls an “awkward walk,” which involves squeezing each glute as you slowly move forward—something that will make you look and feel like Frankenstein. You can also march forward using the same technique, making sure to squeeze the glute on your standing leg. Before you know it, your runs will be all sorts of powerful.
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