3 strength moves to activate lazy glutes

The glutes are the biggest and most powerful muscle group in the body. Unfortunately many runners struggle to activate them, and some ignore developing their strength in favour of building up cardio endurance. A stronger you is a better runner, so concentrating on strengthening these key muscles will allow you to develop into a better athlete. 

1/ Resistance band pulses

Those little elastic bands that you see in the gym and never use? It's time to pick one up! Pop a band two inches above your knees and get into a perfect standing squat position. Push your knees out to create maximum stretch on the band. Now keeping your right knee totally still, drop your left knee in and back to its starting position on maximum band stretch 10 times. You will feel your glute starting to fire up and then burn! Repeat on the other side and then rest. Aim to complete for three sets, maintaining the quality of movement. 

2/ Single leg step ups

Building up your single leg strength should be a primary focus for any runner. Why? Because running is actually a single leg activity. Grab a box in the gym that is tall enough that when you place one foot up on it it creates a 90-degree angle from standing leg to working leg. With your right leg up on the box, step up on to the box driving all of your weight through the right heel, keeping your knee over your laces, body travelling directly upwards. Your left leg should start close to the box base so that it cannot get involved in the upward pushing movement. Repeat for 6 reps on each leg. Once you are comfortable here, start to hold dumbbells in your hands to add difficulty and thus strength and power in your glutes. 

3/ Glute bridges

It is trendy right now but this exercise has actually been a staple in athletic performance for years. A weighted glute bridge is a simple and effective way to build strength and power in your glutes to improve your posture whilst running and drive yourself up inclines more easily. Place your shoulders on a box that is high enough to create a good range of movement dropping your bum to the floor and driving up to a table top position. Once you have your position sorted and can get an effective squeeze of your glutes at the top of the movement, add an appropriate weight for your level across your lap. Perform 8 reps taking three seconds on each to get to the bottom of the range of movement before powering to table top and holding for three seconds. Rest and repeat for 3 sets. 

The combination of these three exercises will activate and stimulate the much relined muscle group that has become inefficient in our sedentary lifestyle.