Little Runner Gal

Running, eating, sleeping and all the bits in between

Training the Glutes & Core

on March 31, 2014

Those of you who read my posts regularly will know I have a bit of an obsession with my lazy arse! My glutes, to be more precise. They’ve been causing me issues and leading to untold pain and injuries almost since I took up running, 18 months ago. I didn’t know it at the time, but the glutes and core support your form when you’re running and stop your body doing silly things that cause niggles. A strong core and glutes can quite literally solve all, and it has for me.

Whilst on my #MissionMarathon training camp in the Algarve, with 2:09 Events, Running With Us, Run Lounge, Saucony and High5, I was lucky enough to have some one to one time with personal trainer and elite marathon runner, Jenny Jagger. She gave me some additional pointers to add to my previous post on glutes, Awakening Your Hibernating Heinie, and I’ve added them into my routine, they’re great! So take a look and squeeze a few in a couple of times a week to really get those glute firing and that core strong.

Alternate Leg Raises
Leg Raise
Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet on the floor. Pinning your lower abs to the floor, by keeping your back firmly down (no arching), place your hands lightly on your lower abs if needs be to ensure that they’re engaged, have legs bent and raise each leg slowly, individually, and then back down. Sounds easy, becomes quite killer. 3 sets of 20 on each leg should really get the lower abs working.

Lie on your back with legs bent and feet on the floor. Squeeze your glutes first then lift your hips up, keeping your glutes strong and your tummy tight. If you can feel it in your lower back then you need to work the glutes more. Control the tempo up and down, so you’re taking a good few seconds to raise the hips, hold them, then bring them back down. Maybe 15 seconds in all. Try 3 sets of 10, building up the frequency as you get better at it.

Advance to Glute Bridge with Leg Raises
Bridge leg raise
You can then advance this to raising your leg, once you have the stability in your core and glutes.

Alternate Supermans
Lie on your front with arms and legs out straight. Draw your belly button towards your spine, and with your glutes and core muscles engaged, extend your opposite leg and arm (left arm, at the same time as right leg, and vice versa). Hold for 10 seconds then carefully lower down. Repeat this 10 times on each side for 3 sets.

Prone Cobra
Prone Cobra
This one works your lower back and shoulders. Again, lying on your front with arms and legs out straight, squeeze your glutes, raise shoulders (keep looking down so as not to strain your neck) and rotate thumbs outward so that you can feel your shoulder blades squeezing together. Hold for a couple of seconds and release carefully, going back to the start position. Do this maybe 5 times per set as your lower back may fatigue until you build the strenth in the muscles needed to support this one.

Front Plank
Easy Plank
I think we all know (and most of us hate) the plank, but it works, so we need to do it. I’ve included a slightly more supported and a more advanced version. In both just make sure that your elbows are directly under your shoulders, your glutes are squeezed and your back is straight. No bum in the air or hanging around lower than your waist. Push back through your heels and keep your glutes and core muscles tight. If you’re new to this, try for 15-20 seconds and work your way upwards.

Side Plank
Easy Side Plank
Side Plank
Again there’s a slightly more basic and advanced versions here. Same principle applies, make sure your elbow is directly under your shoulder, and your glutes and core muscles are engaged. Remember to do this on both sides and try from 15 seconds, working for longer if you can.

Crab Walk (with stretchy band)
Crab walk
This was a new one to me and is actually harder than it looks (although that might just be me and my lazy muscles!) Use the band (can be a resistance band or any other stretchy type gym equipment band that’ll do the trick) as per the picture and, holding on tight, just side step your right leg to the right, and bring your left leg to meet it, and keep going. Keep yourself upright and your glutes engaged. When you reach the wall (or have done 8-10 times one way) then head back the other way. It hurts more than it looks, I swear, and it does wonders!

To support these exercises, and stretch out the lazy muscles after a run, Jenny and I discussed our favourite glute based stretches. Here you go…

Piriformis Stretch
piriformis stretch Fold your right leg underneath you with your knee under your shoulder and the other leg outstretched behind you. Bringing your body down in front of you, as much as you can, you should feel the stretch in the top of the glute and hip. Change legs to do the other side. I always do this for about 45 seconds cos I love it!

Hip Flexor Stretch
Hip Flexor Stretch
Start on both knees and lunge one leg forward to a 90 degree angle, with your knee no further forward than your angle. Engage your glutes and push through your hip to feel the stretch. Hold it for 30-45 seconds and repeat on the other side.

So, there you have it, my glute and core crash course from Jenny.

Let me know how you get on with it.

Wishing you buns of steel and washboard stomachs!


5 responses to “Training the Glutes & Core

  1. runragged says:

    Some good solid exercises. I love bridges, feeling the glute buuuuurn! I have another particular deep glute stretch I like, will find a link…

  2. […] my glutes are pushing me….much easier! Not easy, but easier. Here’s the link to my core and glutes training that I hope might […]

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