Friday, August 24, 2012

My lazy glute and running injuries

Through the years I have dealt with more then my share of running injuries. With this as my history then why is it that after 10 years as a runner I am finally working hard to change the mechanical issues causing my injuries in hopes of not only preventing further injury but also becoming a stronger runner? I was thinking I can't be the only one, right? My trainer and I have decided to share our findings and exercises with the running group and I thought I'd share with others as well.

The glutes are key in keeping the pelvis stable, extending the hip, forward movement, and keeping it all aligned. Weak glutes cause the entire kinetic chain to be disturbed. Glute weakness is shown to be linked to Achilles tendinitis, shinsplints, runner's knee, and iliotibial-band syndrome. The glute is often not active in regular activities like other muscle groups leading to disproportionate calves, hamstrings and quadriceps, it is also hard to isolate glutes in strength training (Kimball, 2011)

Core strength is frequently sought by runners to decrease injury and improve stability of abdominals and back muscles, but this fails to address the frequent issue of weak glutes in runners. After many years of thinking I had an on and off piriformis injury we have now decided that the issue comes from a lazy right glute. So what can I do?

My Glute Strengthening Plan

Side Steps: Remember the lovely stretchy band you were handed in PT one day? Well pull it back out, bad memories and all! Wrap band around both ankles and step sideways keeping knees straight and hips forward and NO ROCKING! You will feel it on upper outer thighs. Do 3 sets of 12.

Bridges: Not your usual bridges for core work and will require help of a partner, so what a great thing to do after a run with a friend. Lie on your back, feet on the floor, knees bend. Now engage your glute and have partner apply resistance to outer thigh/knees as your raise pelvis up. Resist partner to keep knees steady, can vary resistance or use band. Do 3 sets of 12-15 daily.
Source


Squats: Line up with a bench behind you, knees apart and feet facing forward. As you bend, touch butt on bench and use glutes to push back up to standing. Keep chest forward and don't lean down. Do 3 sets of 10-12.
Source
Stretch: After any run focusing on hip flexors and hamstrings.

Where am I now? After about a month of these exercises the piriformis pain is gone and hamstring tightness improved. I feel stronger running hills and fatigue less quickly. I know this is a combination of all my strength training and running, but I love the difference so far. The real test will come in preventing further injury.

With my long history of running injury I analyze everyone's gait including O's! I joking, at least she has better form then I do and many others I watch!

And we have made it to Friday, after thinking yesterday was Friday I am ready! Looking forward to the weekend and my 20 mile run, What are your weekend plans? Check out Fitness Friday

19 comments:

  1. Great post! I'm training for my first marathon so I've been trying to strengthen my glutes but I have to confess I've only been trying half-heartedly... Thanks for the reminder that I need to stop putting this on the back burner!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strengthening is so easy to push aside when we are busy, but a good thing to help us out in the long run...Good luck with the marathon training.

      Delete
  2. I also have been doing glute and core work. Got tired of aches and pains and injury. Good Luck! <3

    ReplyDelete
  3. I definitely need to add those side steps to my workout!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They seems so easy but really work the glutes!

      Delete
  4. Awesome tips! I now do squats and bridges regularly, but haven't done side steps since my knee injury years ago-- I should build that back in. So glad you're feeling stronger!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love the bridges and squats and the result of those is wonderful :)

      Delete
  5. Great tips:) I hope your 20 miler is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, the run was great for the most part but humid!

      Delete
  6. Oh, glutes strengthening…modern cure for everything, including world hunger, deforestation and Bengal tigers extinction.

    I have had ITB problem for the past three years and I have my own thoughts on this (meaning, weak glutes seems to be just a fashionable diagnosis these days, and usual PT exercises do not transfer to daily activities and even less so to actual running). I have written a post about my experience with glutes/hips strengthening a few weeks ago http://mmmonyka.blogspot.de/2012/07/my-new-hipsglutes-strengthening-routine.html . I do not want to coax you into reading my blog or anything, I just thing that you might find what I have to say interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for posting this, I read your blog and see your perspective as well. I agree that glute weakness is getting a lot of hype currently but think it is a good thing to remember and it makes sense physiologically. I just think we can't rely on only one thing to "fix" us as runners, but this is a good addition to my training.

      Delete
  7. I need to do more of those bridges. I have come to the point where I respect the squat because of how it works everything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love squats and the variations are nearly endless :)

      Delete
  8. Great post! My glutes are a problem area - even when I build them up they're too tight and I don't activate them the right way. I'm so glad you posted this; we runners often don't realise how important those muscles are!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is key we runners focus on one thing and tend to forget some basics that can really benefit us.

      Delete
  9. Bummer about the bum! Mine get tight after a long run! Thanks for the tips!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, my hamstrings are always tight after a long run!

      Delete
  10. These are great tips! My glutes like to give up on me too. Thanks so much, I'll be getting into some of these from tomorrow. It's on the to-do list!

    ReplyDelete