Pre-Run Glute Activating Exercises

A few people have asked about the exercises I do before a run. I usually use some glute activating exercises as part of my warm-up, depending on what kind of workout I am doing that day. This is my current collection of exercises, and I usually choose abut 3-5 before I head out for my run.

prerun glute exercises

Many of these I learned in PT, others I found online or learned in group fitness classes. Please read my disclaimer about the workers I share on my blog.

So, here are some brief descriptions of how to do these exercises. I also tried to link to a picture or video as well.

1. ClamsLay on one side with legs bent at about 45 degrees. Slowly lift and lower top knee without moving your pelvis. Make this harder by placing a band around your knees. Complete 2 sets of 15. 

2. BridgesLay on your back, bend knees and place feet flat on the floor. Slowly raise hips while squeezing your glutes and then lower back down. Make it harder by lifting on leg at a time, or placing a band around your knees. Complete 2 sets of 15.

3. Single leg dead-liftsStand with feet hip distance apart, and slowly hinge forward, raising one leg back as your body lowers, keeping back and lifted leg in a straight line. Keep a slight bend in standing leg. Lower back to start. Make it harder by holding a weight in your hands. Complete 2 sets of 15 on each side.

4. Single leg squatsStand on one leg with the other leg in front of you lifted off the ground, and squat down while keeping knee of standing leg in a straight line with your foot. Return to standing. Complete 2 sets of 15 on each side.

5. Squats with band: Place a band slightly above your knees and stand hip width apart, or a little wider. Squat down while pushing knees slightly out against resistance of band. Return to standing. Complete 2 sets of 15.

6. Hip hikesStand with one leg on a step and the other leg hanging slightly off the step. Raise side with lower leg down and then back up again, using the side of your glute to do so. Complete 2 sets of 15 on each side.

7. Hip thrustsLay on a bench or stability ball with legs off, knees bent, and feet on the floor. Drop hips down and then left them back up, while squeezing glutes. Make it harder by holding a weight over hips or band around knees. Complete 2 sets of 15.

8. Step-upsFace a bench, box, or high step. Step up onto bench with one leg, and then raise other leg up, in an exaggerated running motion. Return to start. Complete 2 sets of 10 on each side.

9. Reverse leg extensionsLay face down on a stability ball with your hips on the ball and your elbows or hands on the ground. Keeping your legs straight, raise them to hip height using your glutes. Return to start. Complete 2 sets of 15.

10. Lunges: Stand with legs hip width apart and one foot slightly in front of hips, the other foot a few feet behind you. Bend knees to lower into lunge positions. The front glute should be doing the work as your raise back up. Make sure you keep your knee tracking over your foot, and don’t allow your knee to fall too far ahead of your foot (they should be in line.) Make it harder by holding weights in your hands. Compete 2 sets of 15 on each side.

11. Side lungesStand with legs hip width apart, and step one leg far out to the side. Bend knee of the leg you moved while keeping other leg straight. Return to start. Complete 2 sets of 15 on each side.

12.Side stepsPlace a band around ankles. Lower into a squat, and step one leg out of the side about a foot. Step other leg over to meet it. Continue stepping in starting direction for about 30 steps, and then go back the other way.

13. Quadruped hip extensionStart on hands and knees with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Raise one leg up while keeping leg bent using glutes. Return to start. Complete 2 sets of 15 on each side.

Make sure you check out the links if you need more clarification on how to do any of these exercises! Try some out, and find what works for you. I definitely feel some of these more than others, so I use those more regularly. Hopefully you found something new that you can try out!

I also updated my Pinterest board with a lot of great strength workouts for runners here!

How do you warm up before a run?

What is your favorite glute exercise?

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38 thoughts on “Pre-Run Glute Activating Exercises

    • It really doesn’t take very long if you just choose a few to do a few days a week!

    • If Im doing a long run I usually don’t do these, but will just start running really slowly. Sometimes its nice to really get moving before even heading outside! Makes the transition a bit easier, I think.

  1. YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT GLUTE ACTIVATION. I swear, I sound like a broken record to my traineess when I am running with them. But it really is all in your glutes! I don’t do as many of these before I run, these are more like my PT evening exercises. Before I run, I generally do things like RDLs and golfball pick ups, like I demonstrated in my Runners Warm Up last year.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Join me at Bright Pink Fit Fest for Breast and Ovarian Health!My Profile

    • I still refer to that post from time to time! (And I have it pinned on the board I shared). I always feel like if I don’t do my exercises first thing, they wont get done. So this has just worked better for me.

  2. I am totally horrible and never warm up for my runs. Before run club we do a dynamic warm up and I always feel like my turn over is way better. Maybe I should start doing that more often… thanks for the exercise suggestions !! 🙂
    Jamie recently posted…It’s Here!My Profile

    • Dynamic warm ups are great too! And this stuff really doesn’t have to take too much time, so its totally worth it in my opinion!

    • Yes, I like leg swings too! I usually do those even if I don’t do any of these other exercises to get my legs moving.

  3. Yup, I’ve done just about all of those, in some form or another. I have to have a long list of exercises so I can mix things up, otherwise my muscles get used to them.
    Lesley recently posted…Health TrendsMy Profile

    • Since I only do a few each day, its not as overwhelming. But I think to change it up and have a lot of different options!

    • Those are good choices! I definitely find lunges to be good pre-run because they also open up my hip flexors!

    • Glad to enjoyed them! It’s definitely important to get the right muscles activated before exercising.

    • Nice job getting all the strength work in this week! Definitely give yourself a break to recover:)

  4. Yes!! My ortho surgeon really wants me to get stronger in the glutes before I can start running again. I worked in PT yesterday on so many exercises. Your ideas are great! Strong glutes are essential for running. Isn’t it amazing how much we learn in PT? I think I’ll feel a little lost when they kick me out. Ha ha!
    Have an awesome weekend, Lisa!
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    • We do learn so much in PT, although it sucks to be there in the first place at least we can get alot out of it! Its always weird to be done with PT and no longer have that support.
      Have a great weekend!

    • I feel like they are a great way to warm up those muscles! It also ensures I get it done instead of putting it off and never getting to it:)

    • Yes absolutely! Now when I don’t warm up it feels so weird to just go out and run.

  5. These are great Lisa! I love to stretch! The Grandkids will say, “look Grandmom, we straightened up the toys so you can do your stretches.” Now they are stretching with me!

    • I feel my best too when I include this stuff regularly! It doesn’t take too long, its just a matter of making sure I fit it in:)

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