When thinking about running properly, we read a lot about feet planting and our ankles pronating and supinating but we shouldn’t forget the other end of the chain. When you lace your shoes up and stick on your expensive running watch the last thing your thinking about is your bum. But, maybe you should be…
Lets call it your Gluteus from here on out so I sound a bit more professional! Your Gluteus Maximus is the biggest and heaviest muscle in your body. It helps you to balance and controls your leg as it goes through the gait cycle. Seeing as running is just lots of hops, good balance is essential. it also propels you forward whilst running.
But do you ever stop to think if your glutes are firing properly? Misfiring glutes are one of the biggest injury risks that runners don’t know about.
Misfiring glutes can lead to –
- Decreased hip mobility
- Poor balance
- Knee or ankle problems
- Pain in your lower back
- Pain in your shoulders
- Hamstring or groin issues
So, what can you do to ensure that your glutes are firing before every run? All we need to do is to get your glutes talking to your brain again. I like to do this by literally showing your brain where your glutes are, and when to use them.
Firstly. Lay face down on the floor placing your fingers on to both of your buttocks, squeezing gently. Next, start tensing your bum muscles separately, you should be able to have full control of each side.
Once you have mastered that, we can move on to the next step, holding your fingers on a bum cheek to feel the activation, squeeze as hard as you can and lift your leg off of the floor 2-3 inches, do this 10 times on each side.
How can I put my new glutes to good use when running?
When running we often bend forward, which pushes our bum out behind us which makes it really hard to use. Instead, try this….
Imagine a helium balloon above your head pulling you straight up, shoulders relaxed and looking straight forward. Then imagine a rope around your waist just giving you a little tug forward. This should be enough to make your glutes start working for you whilst you’re running.
Like everything with running form, try it little and often. Build it into your routine slowly and enjoy it.
If you’re unsure if your glutes are firing in the correct order then please book an appointment at our Sports Massage Clinic in Haywards Heath with either myself, Leigh, or Sophie. We can give you a full assessment and test your glute firing pattern and keep you running injury free. Any maybe start breaking a few more PBs!