It’s a well-known fact that runners need a strong core and solid glutes to help maximise running economy. Most physiotherapists and strength and conditioning coaches will advise doing various exercises to help keep your core and glutes strong in order to help prevent injuries as well. Not only that, but these areas of the body, particularly in running, support your every move.
When we run, our glutes keep our pelvis level and propel us forward as we drive one foot in front of the other. Strong glutes will help you to generate a more powerful stride though a strong hip extension.
If your hips are wobbly or your core is weak, you’re wasting valuable running energy through those areas. That wasted energy should be put into getting a greater stride which can ultimately help you get faster!
As part of my strength sessions I do a core and a glute circuit as accessory work to compliment the rest of my strength work and running sessions. I like to think of it as part of my general body maintenance.
I do 3 sets of each circuit and between 12-15 reps for each exercise.
I’ve detailed them below, give them a try and let me know what you think!
Glute circuit:3 sets of 12-15 reps each leg. Do all of the exercises on one leg before switching to the other leg.
Side lying clams:
Lie on your side and bend your knees to a 90 degree angle/just under. Keeping your feet together, hinge and lift your knee up as far as you can. Squeeze the glute to keep it engaged and try to keep your hips facing forwards as much as possible.
Side lying straight leg raise:
Lie on one side with your legs out straight. Rotating the foot slightly to engage the glutes, lift the top leg up as high as you can until you feel it in your glute. Lower it back down slowly and that’s one rep.
Prone hip extensions:
Lying on your front, place either a rolled up towel or rolled up yoga mat underneath your hips. Bend one leg to a 90 degree angle and leading through your heel, lift your leg up and squeeze your glute at the top before lowering back down slowly.
Side lying recovery position leg lifts:
Lie on your side once again and put your leg across your body in a 90 degree angle, similar to the recovery position. Lift your leg up so it’s level with your hip again before lowering back down. That’s one rep.
Single leg hip lift:
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat to the floor about hip width apart. Take one leg off the ground and straighten it completely before lifting your hips up, driving through the heel of your foot that’s still on the floor. Finish the movement at the top by squeezing the glutes before lowering down to start the next rep.
Start with your hands and knees about hip width apart and then lift one leg up, keeping it bent at a 90 degree angle. Push through your heel and squeeze your glutes at the top. Really concentrate on squeezing your glutes and using hip extension to lift the leg rather just swinging it up and down aimlessly.
Now on to the core circuit. Do 3 sets of between 12-15 reps. I use a Swiss ball for this circuit but you could also use valslides or a TRX.
Swiss ball pikes:
Start in a plank position with your feet on top of the Swiss ball. Using your core, keep your legs as straight as possible and try to pull your feet towards you as you bend at the hips, so that your hips are stacked over your shoulders.
Swiss ball knee tucks:
Start in the plank position with your feet on the ball once again. Similar to a pike, use your core to bring your knees in as close to your chest as possible before rolling back out to the plank position again. As you roll back out, try not to let your back arch, keep a hollow body position by tilting your pelvis.
Swiss ball mountain climbers:
These are harder than they look, trust me! You can do mountain climbers with or without a Swiss ball but add the Swiss ball for an extra challenge. When using the Swiss ball to do mountain climbers the key is to keep that hollow body position and bring your knees in slowly in a controlled manner until your knee touches the ball.
Swiss ball hamstring curls:
Lie on your back and straighten your legs out, putting your feet on top of the Swiss ball to lift your hips. Keep your hips lifted as high as possible and engaging your hamstrings and core, bring the ball in slowly towards your bum. Roll out until your legs are straight again, keeping your hips lifted for the whole rep.