Balance, stability and strength are vital in running. There are many key areas for runners to consider such as strong abs, strong quads etc. etc. But one of the key areas, which is often overlooked is developing strength in the glutes.
Putting vanity to the side, the glutes are important for running because, they allow you to maintain a steady and level pelvis, which allows extension of the hip, for forward propulsion. It is this that keeps your body in line (torso, pelvis and legs). So if you have weak glutes, your entire structure is compromised, which means your body will overcompensate and try and maintain ‘balance’. This results in injuries and in my case a nagging hip strain.
After seeing my physiotherapist Rush Savla at R&D Physio I’m aware that strength in your glutes aid’s stability and strength in running. If your stability is compromised, then your body will compensate by trying to provide stability, pushing your natural form out of line resulting in poor mechanics, and ultimately injury.
Although you will generate some of your power from your quads and calves, they play a supporting role to the main power source. If you want to run faster and develop a more powerful and efficient stride, one of aspect is to develop the hip extensor muscles, by developing strength in the glutes, hips and hamstrings. A good physiotherapist can assist with this.
Our daily activities do not naturally work the glutes and hamstrings, you need to ensure that you take the time to focus on these elements. Due to work many people will try and balance an active and a sedentary lifestyle, which means the muscles we need to be strong and efficient runners aren’t often engaged, or regularly activated. Bar taking regular breaks to walk away from your desk, I’d recommend that you speak to your physiotherapist about exercises that activate hip extensions and strengthen the glutes such as squats and lunges which can be done without gym equipment.
One particular exercise that I use is the single leg bridge to develop strength in the glutes, as per the link below.