Why Do Runners Need Strong Butts?

by Brandi Barbre

Train with Fleet Feet

Out of approximately 640 skeletal muscles found in the human body, there is one muscle group that rules them all – the glute muscles.  If you're a runner and all you know about glutes is that they are butt muscles, you'll benefit from knowing more.  In addition to making you look great in your running shorts, strong glues will help you run faster, be more efficient and, most importantly, less likely to get laid up with a preventable injury. 

What are glute muscles?

Why are glute muscles such a big deal? (We'll narrowed it down to three reasons.)

So, how do you strengthen your glutes?

The trick is to start at the actual start.  

To successfully get the glutes to fire, we have to successfully overwrite the compensatory patterns that have developed over time.  We have to activate them in a low load, low stress environment, and positions where surrounding muscles can’t jump in and take over.  Here are two ways to do just that:

And let’s not forget...

Sitting for long periods (aka, the desk job) can lead to the gluteal muscles atrophying (or degenerating) through constant pressure and disuse.  Simple isometric contractions (or squeezing of glutes) at your desk will keep your muscles turned on while you are plugged in at work. 

Brandi BarbreFleet Feet Training Director Brandi Barbre has more than a decade of experience coaching athletic performance, prescribing corrective exercise, and conducting metabolic testing.  She has trained thousands of post-collegiate runners over a variety of distances, hundreds of school-aged runners, and dozens of professional athletes (18 NHLers, 11 NFLers, 7 MLBers, and 4 MLSers).  Brandi has a Masters in Exercise Science from Southeast Missouri State University, has earned ACSM CPT, NSCA CSCS, and USAW Sports Performance Coach certifications, and is a marathoner (19 fulls; 28 halfs) and triathlete (2 70.3s), herself.

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