Supporting Act: Six Underappreciated Muscles

Your quads, hamstrings, glutes and abs often hog the limelight. Work your 'hidden heroes' - lesser-known but just as important muscles - to run stronger, faster and fitter.

Posted: 21 September 2010
by Ray Klerck

 1 of 7 

A runner’s body is like a tent on a windy hillside. The poles are your big muscles – the quads, hamstrings, glutes and abs – that keep you upright and moving. But to keep the tent stable, you need ropes and pegs.

These come in the form of your supporting muscles, and they need to be in good nick to tirelessly prop up every stride. “Keeping your posture aligned and working the supporting muscles specific to running, which are found deep inside your torso, hips and legs, will improve your efficiency by helping you cover more miles with less effort,” says strength and running coach Paul Collins, author of Dynamic Dumbbell Training (£14.94, Meyer & Meyer). “A weakness in these muscles is often a precursor to injury.”

To shore up your black spots and make you a more economical runner, we’ve devised a plan to strengthen your most important supporting muscles – so the next time you’re waiting for the starter’s gun you can be confident that your body is hard-wearing enough to weather any storm.

Previous article
Plyometric Power
Next page


Discuss this article

perfect description of what's wrong with me! time to get to the gym methinks!
Posted: 02/10/2010 at 20:49

This is exactly why I've been religiously going to the gym 3 times a week for the last 5 years!
Posted: 02/10/2010 at 21:18

I feel the diagram a little misleading. The best way to do this exercise is one leg at a time. Put the exercise band around a chair or table leg and stretch the band allowing the foot to invert. The foot then should be everted keeping the leg absolutly still. It is also important to keep you toes pointed away from you to isolate the peroneal muscle group.

 Nick Askham. Specialist in podiatric biomechanics

Posted: 07/10/2010 at 16:07

Er... any chance of a link to somewhere that explains it perhaps with images? This is almost as hard to understand as explaining how to make an origami crane without diagrams!
Posted: 10/02/2011 at 14:39

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

Smart Coach
Free, fully-personalized training plans, designed to suit your racing goals and your lifestyle.