Running injury prevention and two of the best exercises for glute strengthening
When treating running injuries it is important that the runner is capable of withstanding the forces that are being put through the bodies structures and tissues e.g. muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia etc. to prevent future or reoccurring injuries. As running is about putting one foot in front of the other to move you forwards (sagittal plane activity) forces going in other directions (when this is not the most efficient way of moving) can overload structures and exacerbate your symptoms.
The glutes (the bum muscles and those around the outside of the hip) are large force producing muscles and provide stability in the running gait for the lower limb. I often have runners coming to see me complaining that they cannot activate the glute muscles. Here are some evidence based activities (Reiman et al. 2012) that are best for producing glute activity and some tips that will prevent you from subconsciously using other structures to produce the force.
- Side bridge; the best for producing forces out of the 19 tested (Reiman et al. 2012). Progression, once you are in the plank (bottom) position lift your top leg upwards making sure the leg is not creeping forwards from the other one
TIP: stand a foam roller or other object on its end in front of your shin, don’t knock it over.
- Single leg squat; second best for glute medius activation (Reiman et al. 2012).
TIP 1: keep the opposite hip (to the standing leg) high, this will encourage glute stability.
TIP 2: only go as deep into the squat while maintaining the knee over the second toe- again use a foam roller on its end on the inside of the standing leg shin- avoid touching the roller.
Good luck with the exercises, if you have a running injury or need some advice, please contact James Kirkpatrick at the Recovery Room on 07748 483639 for further information.