Us physio’s go on and on about how important it is to have properly firing and adequately strong gluteus muscles – mostly, the gluteus medius.
But what is the function of the gluteus medius and why is it so important for runners?
This muscle originates from the crest of the pelvis and inserts into the thigh bone.
When the leg is straight, the gluteus medius muscle abducts the thigh i.e. pulls the thigh away from the midline, and externally rotates the hip. This means thats its really important for correct alignment of the hip, knee and foot.
During walking, the gluteus medius supports the body on one leg, preventing the pelvis from dropping to the opposite side and preventing the knee from collapsing inwards too.
It does all this just when you are walking, so equally it must do the same while you are running, just A LOT faster. If the gluteus medius isn’t strong enough and isn’t trained properly to do this, it just won’t.
If the gluteus medius doesn’t activate optimally, your foot, knee and hip will drop inwards causing excess forces in the joints and reducing your speed!
This would mean that your running technique will be below optimal, and you are likely to get injured.
“Gluteus medius weakness is the main culprit in many overuse injuries. Running is probably one of the sports where over use injuries are most common.” – ‘Gluteus Medius: Weak Buttocks Ruin the Runner’ by Sean Fyfe.
How can you strengthen your gluteus medius to optimise your running?
Here are a list of exercises to add into your training regimen:
– Clam, progressed to banded clam;
– Banded side steps;
– Banded squats.
More advanced gluteus medius strengthening exercises include:
– Banded leg press;
– Banded single leg squats (once you can do banded weighted normal squats with proper control);
– Single leg press
– Split squats (can do these banded too);
– Step ups (can do these banded too);
The list is endless, however it is very dependant on what level YOU are at. All gluteus strengthening and rehabilitation must be tailored to YOU in order to optimise your performance and ensure you remain injury free.
Email us for advice on where you should start and how to progress your performance. We are happy to help you out by going through some of the exercises with you. Book in for a consultation for a full screening with one of our sports physiotherapists to ensure you beat your time!
READ MORE about how the gluteals work, and how they can help you perform better.