I write a lot about topics that I am personally struggling with, which is why I’ve been focusing on glutes lately. I injured myself last spring, and the cause was two-fold: 1) too many races for my base mileage and 2) WEAK GLUTES.
I’ve spent a fortune on personal training over the past several years, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I was doing all the right “runner” exercises…. but with poor form. My children will tell you I have amazing quads. (Okay, their term is “gross,” because they consider my quads to be too muscular.) I’ve done lunges, squats, single leg dead lifts, single leg squats, step ups… all the exercises you would expect… for years.
But… because I wasn’t taught to focus on form, I was working my quads more than my glutes. This is the equivalent of a bodybuilder who focuses only on the large muscle groups on the front of the body. The dude with great biceps, but no triceps. The guy with incredible pecs, but who is lacking strength in his back.
I talked about the “chair of death” exercise, which basically forces you to get your butt behind you when you squat, and turns a squat into an exercise that forces the glutes to work. Because I now know that I have weak glutes and hips, I spend time each day working to strengthen these areas (along with exercises for balance and core).
No, I cannot yet properly execute the “chair of death.” Here are two more that expose my weak glutes.
1) The hip hike. Watch this video from Runner’s World and try it.
2) The superdog. The super dog is a combination of the bird dog and the superman. If you are cheating on the superman or the bird dog, this exercise will tell you. It took me several attempts to force my glutes to do the work. At first, I couldn’t even lift my leg off the ground. Watch the video and give it a try.
To run strong, you have to run from the glutes, which is difficult if your glutes aren’t firing!
Check back in once you’ve tried these exercises. I’d love to know what you think.