Prevent knee injuries when running? Train your glutes!
Knee injuries are one of the most common injuries in runners. That is not so surprising; if you run yourself, you know how much impact your knees will have to endure. However, there is something you can do to avoid running knee injuries (other than getting the right running shoes). You have to train your glutes!
How can training my butt prevent knee injuries when running?
Strength training is very important for runners. Strengthening your muscles makes it easier to run, and with correct posture. Certain muscle groups are more important for running than others. While many people assume that their legs do most of the work, research shows that exercising your glutes can help prevent knee injuries when running.
Did you know that stiff hips and/or glutes are the main causes of knee pain? This is especially true for runners, who often suffer from stiff glutes due to inadequate warm-ups, insufficient stretching before running, poor running shoes, and running on uneven or unstable surfaces. Runners generally have well-developed thigh muscles and hamstrings, but their glutes — especially their gluteus medius — are relatively weak. That’s where the problem lies; the glute medius is the stabilizer of the pelvis. In other words, by training your glutes you stabilize your hips, reducing the risk of knee injuries when running.
What’s the best way to train my glutes for running?
While compound exercises such as squats can certainly help strengthen your glutes (provided they are technically correct squats, of course), it is advisable for runners to focus on glute isolation exercises. This is because in runners the thigh muscles are often much better developed than the glutes. If you then start doing compound exercises, your strong thigh muscles will automatically take on most of the work – with the result that your glutes still do too little. By doing glute isolation exercises, where you focus on a specific muscle group, you force your glutes to wake up and go to work. And as they get stronger, the risk of running knee injuries will decrease significantly.