Glut Exercises for Runners #1 – Running Strength Series

Improve your running economy and speed through running specific exercises, which target glut activation. These exercises will help improve your pelvic stability as you run so you will lose less energy and have less pelvic tilt each step. This will help reduce excess loads placed on your hips, ITB & knees.Gluteus Medius

In this first series of exercises we are targeting the gluts. Primarily, Glut med which stabilises the pelvis & controls leg abduction in running.

Our 3 exercises focus on balance, pelvic stability & activating the Gluts to help improve your technique & running economy.

#1 Single Leg Squat

Stand on 1 leg with your other foot either behind (as in the picture) or in front of your body.  Single leg squat b Single leg squat aSquat down slowly keeping your head up & your back in a neutral spine position. Only squat as low as you can go with control. Repeat for 5-10 reps on each leg (x 2 sets). Gradually increase the depth as your strength & flexibility improves. For a harder challenge you can add a pause or slow the movement of the whole squat. Another great 1 leg squat exercise (Pistol Squats) will feature in our next Running Strength Series as a more advanced option.


#2 Side Plank with leg lift

Hold a side plank and make sure your body is straight down the midline.  Side Plank 2 copyUsing your core & gluts to keep your pelvis stabilised, Side Plankslowly raise the top leg into the air, pause & slowly lower again. This is a challenging exercise so only complete as many reps as you can control without compromising your side plank. Aim for 10 slow leg lifts with a 1 sec pause. Repeat for the other side.
You should definitely feel the glut med. being isolated in this exercise


#3 Single leg balance with ‘arm driver’1 leg balance w arm drive copy

Stand on 1 leg with your knee slightly bent. From this position drive your other knee up to hip height (& raise the opposite arm) imitating a slow a running motion. As you lower the leg & opposite arm the other arm comes through.

Single leg balance w arm driver 2

Perform this move with control. Aim for 30-60secs on each side. Only increase the speed of the ‘arm drivers’ when you have good stability balancing on 1 leg. Your core & pelvis should remain stable throughout the exercise & you will feel your gluts working to stabilise you in this exercise.

Glut med activation patterns are greatest in movements such as Single leg squat, single leg deadlift and side lying abduction. Stay tuned for Glut Exercises for Runners #2 in our Running Strength Series.

Why is pelvic stability important in running?

Pelvic stability is crucial for runners to maximise efficiency and speed. If the muscles around the pelvis are weak the hips will tilt excessively placing excess loads on the ITB, hip joints & knee. Also many runners experience back pain when their form suffers and they ‘fall into’ bad technique. Especially on long runs, when people become tired,  poor form can have a negative effect on several aspects of your running so complete the exercise above in combination with your running program.



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