Buns. Tushie. Rump. Apple Bottom. Peach. Heinie. Glutes.
Whatever you call it, you need to have a strong backside to be a runner.
I am not genetically blessed with a strong posterior. Thank you very much mom and grandma. I am a major quad dominant person. Not only in running but in everything. My quads love to take over and do all the work. It’s great that my quads are so strong. What’s not so great is that my glutes are tagging along for the ride. No one likes a free loader!
If you look at the root cause of almost any running injury, it’s most likely going to be weak glutes. Your glutes are the source of pelvis and leg stability. If there is no stability, your legs can’t generate power. If you have weakness, other parts of your body (ahem quads for me) will step in to try to do the work. That leads to compensation and poor mechanics.
Besides being vital for injury prevention, strong glutes will also help you be a more efficient runner and with that efficiency, speed.
Over the years, I’ve spent many hours in physical therapy from various injuries. Band work is a staple in PT. Why? Because it fires up those pesky little finite muscles that can easily tag along for the ride.
Last year, after seeing a new PT, I bought a set of mini bands (affiliate link) for home.
Now, I can do my mini band glute exercises for runners at home as part of my dynamic warm up before a run or while I’m hanging out watching TV at night. It’s become a part of my routine.
And if it’s not in your routine, it should be!
Here’s 4 of my favorite mini band glute exercises for runners or for anyone.
Single Leg Glute Bridge
Place the band right above your knees and lie on your back. Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the ground just close enough that you can graze your heels with your fingertips when you stretch your arms down by your side. I like to have my palms up so I’m not tempting to press into the ground with my hands. lift one foot off the ground and straighten the leg, keeping it in line and parallel to the bent leg. Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips up off the ground as high as possible. Do not let your knees cave in with the band. Drive through your heels to lift your glutes off the ground. Squeeze your glutes and drive your hips up as high as possible. Hold for a second or two at the top and then lower down and repeat on the same side.
Place the band around both ankles. Pull the band so your feet are about hip-width apart with feet parallel. With a slight bend in the knees, step to the side with one foot and then step in with the other foot. Always keep tension on the band. Repeat 10x in on direction before returning to start.
Place the band around both ankles. Step out wide so your feet are between hip-width apart. Step forward and out to the side with one foot. Then step forward and out to the side with the other. Take big monster steps while keeping your feet as wide apart as you can. Take 10 steps forward before repeating walk backwards in the same manner.
Place the band around your ankles and lie face down on the ground. Flex your feet with your toes on the ground. Lift one foot and drive the heel up toward the ceiling. Squeeze your glute as you lift. How high you lift your foot doesn’t matter. Hold at the top and then lower. Do not let your toe rotate inward or outward as you lift. Keep it pointing straight down at the ground. Repeat 15-20x before switching to the other leg.
I was shocked how much these simple exercises burn when I first started doing them. Glute work doesn’t require heavy weights or fancy equipment. Exercises like these 4 simple exercises can be the key in helping keep injuries away.
What is your favorite glute exercise?
What is your favorite mini band exercise?