There’s a lot of controversy and differing opinions about what passes for good running technique, but one thing almost everyone agrees on is the need to be stable and strong at the hips. Yes indeed your butt needs to be switched on.
Depending on whether you’re reading a coaching manual or a scientific journal paper this might be expressed as holding your hips high or forward, pushing hard when doing hill sprints and faster running or activating your glutes, gluts, buttocks, hip extensors, abductors or external rotators. Whatever way you describe it, what we’re talking about is getting your butt working during running.
One of my favorite ways of coaching this with runners is to use a combination of simple body weight strength training exercises and drills to build awareness and capacity to get the booty switched on. This is immediately followed by some run throughs to allow the runner to get the feel for what we’ve just been discussing and working on.
It’s very easy to talk about getting the buttocks working in running, but difficult to implement if you don’t have an innate awareness of what it feels like to activate certain muscle groups, however it can be learned.
In this short video below I demonstrate this approach using a simple bridging exercise combined with an A Running Drill. Is this a perfect approach? Probably not, but it’s simple and relatively effective. Actually doing something movement oriented is a great way to learn. If it’s a smaller component of a greater whole that’s ok too. Sometimes you need to start with what you can do rather than worry about what you can’t.
Runners who are more bum shuffler types (not a criticism) may find exercises like bridging and squats a closer approximation of their running method, whereas more hamstring/glute oriented athletes might like single leg dead lift/body snap/single leg back extension as the way to go.
A well executed kettle bell or medicine ball swing could also suffice. The best way forward is to experiment with a range of exercises that are similar to running until you narrow down on the ones that most closely approximate or more importantly stimulate what you’re trying to achieve. Keep thinking: what will work for me?
If you’re a coach or runner what approach do you use? What works well and not so well. I don’t think there’s any wrong answers here so please chip in and share your experience.
@BrianRunCoach …erectors & quads (over-active in most runners & triathletes) out of the equation & requires more glute & h/s activation 2/2
— Jen BrownMangulabnan (@SpartaJen) September 28, 2013
— Tania L-J (@TaniaLJ1) September 28, 2013