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  • Writer's pictureAlexa

Glutes Strength for Runners

Your glutes (the muscles in your bum) should be doing more work when you run than any other of your leg muscles. I often see that this isn’t the case with many of the runners I work with, making glutes strength work really important for runners!

For all these exercises start with 8-10 reps and build to 12-15 reps, rest for 30 seconds and repeat twice more. So you do three sets of each exercise. For those where you hold the movement start at 30 seconds and build from there.

Focus on good form, if you are unable to keep to the form cues then stop. Do the exercises slowly and with control, this is more effective than a fast approach and will mean you are more likely to be doing them right!

If you can it’s useful to have a mirror nearby so you can check your form for the exercises.

Step ups

  • Find something to step up on to, the bottom or second step of your stairs is ideal. If you are stepping onto something stand alone make sure it can’t slip about

  • Plant one foot onto the step. Using the glutes muscles in that leg (not by powering off the leg still on the floor) step up onto the step.

  • You can make this more challenging by stepping up into a “running pose” at the top with the back leg bent and knee lifted high and “sprinter arms”

  • Hold the position at the top for 1-2 seconds and make sure that the hip is fully extended/straight at the top

Sideways Band Walk

  • Stand with your feet hips width apart and (if you have one) a resistance band around your legs just above the knees

  • Keeping a slight bend in both knees step one foot out to the side and then back in, slowly and with control

  • Do the same with the other side

  • Keep the knees slightly bent throughout and it’s important that the knees keep pointing forwards, not rotating inwards or outwards. Doing the exercises in front of a mirror helps with this

If you don’t have a resistance band;

  • Stand side on to a sofa or radiator, bend the knee nearest the surface to lift the foot off the ground. Bend the knee of the other leg slightly

  • Press the side of the knee into the sofa/radiator firmly, and hold for up to 30 seconds. The leg you are standing on will be working hard to stop you from moving

Hip Lifts

  • Get yourself into the position where your shoulders, head and neck are resting on a chair/sofa your knees are bent and feet on the ground. So your body is in a straight line from head to knees, parallel to the ground.

  • Engage your tummy muscles by pulling your belly button back towards your spine.

  • Lower your hips slowly and then engage your glutes to drive them up strongly to the start position again


  • Take a long step forwards, making sure your feet remain hip width apart (not stepping closer to your centre line so you are wobbling on a tightrope!).

  • Drop your body downwards by bending both knees until you reach a 90 degree bend in both knees. The back knee should just be hovering off the floor.

  • Check you’ve stepped long enough; your front knee shouldn’t have moved forwards of your toes

  • Push off with the front foot to step back to your start position and step forwards with the other side

  • To progress this you can put your arms forwards and rotate away from the front leg at the bottom of each lunge; if your right leg is forwards rotate left. Make sure the front knee stays facing forwards

  • You could also use a backpack full of books, water bottles, cans etc to add weight once you’ve mastered the technique

  • The keys are to keep feet hip width apart and to keep the front knee pointing forwards - no wobbling in and out!


  • Start with feet slightly wider than hip width apart

  • Begin the movement by driving your bum backwards and downwards, ideally until it reaches level with your knees. Imagine you are trying to hover over a dirty loo you don’t want to sit on!

  • Slowly lift back up again

  • The knees should track in line with your toes and should not drive forwards of your toes as you drop down.

  • For each set take the feet slightly wider, keeping the toes pointing slightly outwards

  • If you struggle to drop the hips to knee height try putting two books (the same width) under your heels

  • You could also use a backpack full of books, water bottles, cans etc to add weight once you’ve mastered the technique

You can find a video version of this session here;

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