The Glute muscles consist of the Gluteus Maximus, Medius and Minimus. Each one has a different role and collectively they are responsible for the extension, flexion, abduction and rotation of your hips as well as helping to stabilise the hips. They are a powerhouse of muscle responsible for speed and acceleration.
If you sit down a lot during the day (that dreaded desk!) your glutes are not able to engage properly and you will have tight hamstrings and tight hip flexors. So when you go out for a run at the end of the day your glutes are affectively asleep and the opposing muscles, such as the hip flexors and quads, are restricted.
Tight hip flexors can inhibit the activation of your glutes and if your glutes (a prime mover) are not doing their work, their little helpers, the hamstrings, will have to do all the work instead, which they are not kitted out for.
What happens if they don’t fire to full capacity?
- Your hamstrings, quads and hip flexors take the load and become fatigued, leading to injuries
- You have no power, speed and acceleration in your run
- It can cause issues all the way down the kinetic chain from your back to your feet, including hip issues, Runners Knee (PFS), sore ITB, calf and Achilles injuries and back pain
Lazy or weak glutes are shameless and do a very good job of hiding behind other muscles and letting them take the strain. When you drastically increase your mileage or intensity in training any flaw in the kinetic chain will start to cause problems. So, for example, if the hamstrings are taking the strain they will become more and more fatigued by the increase in training which can then lead to an overuse injury.
So how do I get those lazy glutes firing?
- Focus on engaging them when you run and run uphill
- Perform static or forward lunges and deep squats, just before you run and in between training sessions (but learn how to do them the right way)
- Perform hip extension exercises (lying face down on the floor) and side lying leg lifts. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reports that the side-lying leg lift activates the glutes the most.
- Think about your Glutes, tensing and releasing them – and focus on using them when you get out of a chair. Use them to push off while walking, and exaggerated backward walking.
Lunges, Squats, Clam, Alphabet, Bridge (and with single leg raise)
And what do I need to stretch?
Hip flexors – iliopsoas & Rectus Femoris & Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL), Quads, Adductors
Google them or ask someone who knows!
LSSM (Dip) MISRM
Further information on Rehabilitation & Exercises can be found within the training section of the site here: