Glut Exercises for Runners #2 – Running Strength Series

Improve your running economy, and reduce your risk of injury with our Running Strength Series. Our Glut Exercises for Runners #2 follows on from our previous post Glut Exercises for Runners #1 adding some additional exercises to improve your pelvic stability & target the gluts.

The following exercises require pelvic stability utilising 1 leg to build strength & balance for runners of all levels.

#1 Pistol Squat

Pistol squat copyStanding on 1 leg (& using a band or pole for assistance) slowly lower yourself with your other leg out in front of your body. Aim to get your hips down as low as your knee. Make sure you keep your head up & maintain an open chest to prevent you ‘falling forward’, facing down and sinking. Progress to the Pistol squat after building your strength with Single leg squats (as seen in Glut Exercises for Runners). Starting out aim for slow controlled squats, with fewer reps, before increasing. Aim for 2 sets of 5 each leg & gradually build up to 10 as your strength improves. Once you can complete the pistol squat without a band for assistance reduce the reps & build up again (unassisted).

#2 Single leg hip extension

The single leg hip extension (or bridge) also requires a stable pelvis whilst only having 1 foot contacting the ground. Set up with your feet beneath your knees & shoulders on the ground. Lift your hips into the air so your back is straight and then lift 1 leg off the ground. Make sure your hips remain horizontal & don’t tilt down on the side of the leg lift. 1 leg hip ext 11 leg hip ext 2
Then slowly lower your hips (not your leg) ¾ of the way to the ground and then utilise your gluts and hamstrings to lift your hips back up into alignment. You should be straight from shoulders to knee at the top of each repetition. Don’t lift with you back, instead focus on using your gluts to lift your hips each time. Begin with sets of 5 repetitions on each side til you increase your strength.

#3 Weighted ‘arm drivers’  Arm drivers 1

The weighted arm drivers are for those who have progressed through the Single leg balance with ‘arm driver’ seen in Glut Exercises for Runners #1. By adding the additional weight to the arms more core control is required to maintain your balance & stability at the hips. Make sure you don’t rock with the arm swings. The weights should be light so as to allow normal arm cadence but also heavy enough to add an additional strength challenge. For most men 3-6kg would be appropriate. For smaller runners and most women 1-2kg would provide good resistance.

#4 The side lying runner

The side lying runner mimics the action of the leg during running, with normal leg drive, but while you are horizontal rather than vertical. This exercise requires fine control to maintain the kneeSide runner 1 Side runner 2& ankle in horizontal alignment with the hips. You’ll feel your Glut med start to fatigue but make sure to keep the knee, ankle & hip horizontal alignment to strengthen the hip stabilisers and abductors. Aim for controlled movements for 45-60sec, and gradually increase the time as you become stronger.

In our final Glut Exercises for Runners (#3) we will look at using resistance bands to add additional load to the gluts, as well as a challenging Plank variation. For any questions on any of these exercises contact us on

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