Using your glutes for running seems obvious. But, it’s harder than it sounds. Tight hip flexors and quad dominant running happens quite a lot to runners after they become moms. And, running without using your glutes leads to tight, locked up muscles, low back pain, wimpy abs, and a flat butt. So, we’re going to change that!
Here a few quick tips to practice while running to ensure you’re using your glutes:
1) Run with a short front stride and long back stride (basically – push with your glutes instead of pulling with your quads).
This is a really great article from UESCA about stride rate and lays out the reasons why short strides are just as effective (and I’d argue better) for using your glutes and running at a quick pace, which is what we are working toward in this program! If you love the science behind running, you can read the article here.
Basically, when running, focus on a long posterior (rear) stride, pushing through your glutes, and a shorter front stride with you leg staying underneath you instead of stretching it way out front. A shorter anterior (front) stride will work your glutes, tame your hip flexors, and help your ribs stay over your hips (so nothing hurts.)
2) Try to land with a mid-foot strike
A mid foot strike, instead of a heel strike, almost forces you to use your glutes. So as you’re pushing yourself forward, try to land more in the middle or balls of your feet instead of pounding and striking with your heel, which makes you more likely to tuck your bum under to soften the blow. This will save your pelvic floor tons of pain and downward pressure, help to prevent peeing while running, and will turn your glutes as you’re landing mid-foot instead of on the heel.
3) Stretch your hip flexors and hamstrings
The longer and looser your hip flexors and hammy’s are, the better your glutes can work.
4) Try this glute activation drill to fire up those glutes so you know they’re working without you having to think about it!
There are so many things to think about while running, and one of the purposes of my upcoming postpartum runnng program is to make your body strong so you don’t have to think so much – we want to turn your body into a natural running machine! The glute activation drills I teach will help train your brain to fire your glutes automatically like they should. One less thing to worry about 🙂 Get strong glutes and then go run happy and free. Give this glute drill a try and see how well your glutes fire without any cheater muscles kicking in!
And, if you liked that quick exercise and want to learn more about how to build a strong runner’s body after having babies, get on the waitlist here to be first to know when my new program opens.