Most runners know that core work and general strength work is an important tool for making you a better runner and preventing injuries. Almost every book, website and forum tells us that ‘core is king’ and we need to focus on this area.
I think they are still right – I do core and general strength workouts as part of my weekly training – but due to a recent calf injury I’ve found out about the importance of strengthening your glutes to help prevent injury – particularly overuse type injuries and lower limb injuries.
The reason the glutes are so important is because they form a key link between your lower limbs and your torso, especially when running. A weak gluteal area will cause imbalances in your whole kinetic chain, increasing your risk of injury. Your glutes are also responsible for providing rearward drive through your legs. Stronger glutes mean faster turnover and faster running.
However, glutes are hard to train as most exercises don’t isolate the area, allowing other muscles to be recruited to take the load. Plus, for those with desk jobs your hip flexors are often tight due to the hours of sitting, further inhibiting activation of the glutes. Adding glute strength exercises and hip flexor stretches into your routine will help you build strength in this key area and hopefully reduce your chance of injuries caused by a weak gluteal area.