Engaging Glutes

I've been reading recently the importance of our hips and glutes when running as these are some very powerful muscles. Whilst the tinternet is awash with strengthening exercises I am still a bit confused how I know my glutes are engaged when actually running and I'm making the most of them. I do try to run with a good form, but not sure whether this is enough...

Any info/advice would be welcomed :-)

23 Replies

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  • I have never ever figured out how to "engage" my muscles, be it glutes or core muscles. I can squeeze my bums, but I can't run at the same time, so I don't think that's the right answer. So all in all, I also don't know, but I shall follow this thread with interest.

  • Yes I heard a lot about bum squeezing.. not the sort of thing that sounds natural when running!! :-)

  • Ask a Runners Connect coach :)


  • That's a good idea... I do actually subscribe to the Runners Connect pod casts and I do find them useful.

  • Yes, me too, there have been some very interesting ones. Did you follow Tina Muir on to her own podcasts?

  • Yes, I liked Tina... not so sure about the present presenter.. she sounds like a robot or is it me :-)

  • I actually find that new presenter a bit hard to listen to!

  • ... hope she's not the one who answers your q ;)

  • Very good point. I am under a sports osteopath as due to stiff hips etc my glutes are weak which has resulted in a poorly ankle. I am having to do very painful strengthening exercises which are working.... When I am attempting to run fast I make a point of 'engaging' them and I do think it makes a difference.....

  • Sorry to hear about your problems... hope they get sorted soon.

    So... when you are 'engaging' your glutes are you doing anything specific or is just a case of a good running form.. upright, hips forward, feet landing below you etc??

    All I'm trying to do is to squeeze as much out of my old body as I can!! :-)

  • Thankyou so much... and I do it running down the hill in the woods. I basically squeeze my ar*e as much as I can to power me holding my core firm at the same time. I haven't a clue if that's what you are supposed to do but it works and I do speed up!!

  • I think if your glutes are strong, you tend to naturally engage them, and if weak, you tend to compensate with other muscles. As with core, back, etc.

    I am also coming increasingly to the conclusion that almost everyone, apart from people who specifically train or do physical work that involves full body movement, has weak pretty much everything. I say 'weak' here in the sense of compared to how we are designed/evolved to function, before we started sitting on chairs, driving in cars, pooping on toilets etc. I have found that the more I have strengthened parts of my body, core et, the more astounded I have been at how it has changed normal everyday movements and so on. Posture etc. How things I have found hard work all my life and just assumed thats how it is, actually are meant to be easy fluid movements.

    Of course everyone knows what I am going to say to strengthen glutes... Squats. Lots of daily squats. Also lunges. I am following Geoff Richey at the moment who has started doing 400 lunges every morning (at the age of 57) to improve his leg strength.

  • Hmmm must do more squats...

  • Always have to do more squats

  • Ok, right now!! :D

  • don't go mad. 3 sets of 10 is enough until you nail the form. then work up to 3 x 30 before adding in split squats etc

  • Ha, then I need to do 10 more :D

  • and at half the speed

  • I'm also 57, and unfortunately I have spent many of those years sat on my butt looking at a PC screen... not conducive to good posture.

    Until a few years ago I never knew what my core was and what use it would have... until I started running and trying to look after myself.

    Whilst I do have a gym session once a week I really think I need to up my game and incorporate some squats every day. This may not be that difficult as you can even knock out a few whilst brushing your teeth! I can also get into the habit of getting out of my chair without using my hands.

    So the plan... more core work.. YES more squats and focus on my running form (think whilst running) and then hopefully my collection of glutes will swing into action. :-)

  • I sit on a ball at work so I'm 'engaging ' my core whilst I sit, and I think it's rather effective.

  • Having just finished a dynamic core class after my op I am amazed at the difference building these muscles has made to my running. I agree with Rignold we all have weakness there and everything works better after building them up. I have always hated core work and sort of played around with it. But after having six weeks of being watched for an hour to two hours for six weeks it has made me do it and do it properly. Now I can engage my core. I found that what that has helped me do with my running is find power. I feel the core engage then that muscle motion travels down my body hitting each and every muscle on the way down pulling Stregnth from them all . I'm finding my all my muscles work better together and when I sprint, yes I do sprint now, the power and strength I can call on is way beyond my dreams. I'm still not fast but with doing core I can tell I am going to be faster..

    I would say the main thing that will make me stay with core work is I can tell it is the missing link of running.

    It is a pity that physios don't do a core class for the general population because they are all about form as you do the exercises and that in my opinion is what makes the difference, you can do 100 squats but if they are not done correctly then they won't be doing the job. I use a mirror and take things slow so I can check my form to make sure I'm not going back into bad habits. I can now tense my core muscles, which I thought I could before but now I know I'm doing it right.

  • Thanks for the reply RFC, I'm so pleased that you have found your core and you're putting it to good use !!

    Like you, I have previously paid only a limited amount of time to my core and the funny thing is that we are carrying all these nice strong muscles around with us on every run and not making the most of what we have.

    As mentioned previously, I like many others have spend so much sat down looking at a PC screen and when coming to running "later" in life then our bodies need some training & guidance to find and use our cores.

    As I only currently do one gym (core) session a week I'm seriously considering swapping a running session for another core session as well as doing some basic squats or similar on a daily basis.

    All hail the core :-)

  • I find there is nothing like running on the trail, involving lots of ups, downs, hills etc for engaging one's muscles. If you put your hand on your middle for example you can feel it's engaged. Changes in levels and terrains engages bits of you you never knew you had 💪🏃‍♀️🏃✔️👍

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