The best Gluteal Exercises for Runners / Go Go Physio / Bondi / Sydney

Most clients I speak to nowadays know that butt exercises are very important for runners. Most of the boot camps I jog past on Coogee and Bondi beach have a wide variety of glut exercises in amongst all the others. Considering the gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body and arguably the strongest it is worth making sure this muscle is giving you support during your running training.

I was reading an excellent article by Reiman et al. (2012) who completed a systematic review of the literature examining Gluteus Maximus and Gluteus Medius activation during rehab exercises.  Considering that a systematic review is viewed as a high level of research evidence - and is often used to pool data from a number of studies to aid in making useful conclusions -  I thought I would share this one with you.

Now research papers can be extremely boring and time-consuming to read and evaluate so I have tried to get the best bits out for you, so it can help with your running exercises. You can thank me later.


Practical application

From the research findings a good programme for runners wanting to target GMed would be starting with single leg mini-squat, side-lying abduction and pelvic drops and progressing to single leg dead lift, single leg squat and side-lying bridge to neutral. For advanced work you could add leg weight to side-lying abduction or combine side plank with upper leg abduction.

Check out some of the exercises on video below:

1. Pelvic drop

2. Side-lying abduction

3. Single leg mini squats

Runners wanting to improve GMax could start with single leg bridge, lunge with neutral trunk and single leg mini-squat and progress to single leg squat, single leg dead lift and forward step up. All of these exercises are 'closed chain' single leg activities where the GMax provides power to extend the hip but also works to help stabilise the hip and pelvis. As a result they are fairly functional for runners as GMax has a similar role during running.

Check out some of the exercises on video below:

1. Double and single leg bridge

2. Single leg deadlift

3. Forward step up


However, if you are injured, have lower back pain or hip problems, check out my beginner gluteal program (which will be uploaded soon).


One of the biggest mistakes I see clinically is that it's not just what exercises you do but how you do them. Exercises taught under virtual trainers or when watching someone else is never as good as a personal trainer or physiotherapists making sure you are contracting the correct muscles.


Remember the golden rule:


Mobility + Stability = Optimal movement patterns

Mobility + Instability = Abnormal movement patterns


Go forth and get those gluts working!