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5 Key Glute Exercises For Runners

Many long-distance beginners avoid exercise in general, especially when we talk about strength exercise. As we already discussed in the previous blog posts they can be very beneficial for runners. In this post, we will discuss how and why glute exercise can be specifically beneficial for runners.

First, let’s discuss the anatomy of the glutes. They have three separate muscles including gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Each has its particular role. For example, the gluteus maximus is responsible for the extension of the hip joint, gluteus minimus and gluteus medius both are important for tight rotation and hip abduction.
It is interesting fact that e largest muscle in your body is actually the gluteus maximus. Considering the size of the muscles, we can only imagine what force it can produce and how we can use it to power our run. Thus it is a good idea to invest some quality time building strong glutes if we want to run faster.

Why building strong glutes can make us faster?

Have you ever heard that sprinters work so much in the gym to build strong glutes? Even if you look at them you will notice that the glutes are very well defined and emphasized in size. As the biggest muscle in the body, the power that can be generated is essential for the speed of the runners. When you become speedier at shorter distances, while maintaining good endurance, the faster you can run at the upper distances. For example, if you improve your 5k time, it is very likely that you will also improve your 10k time.
But strong glutes can also prevent injuries and make your running more balanced. For example, if you lack glutes and hamstrings strength, your calves can often feel very sore because they try to compensate. I used to have this issue and once I fixed it with specific strengthening exercises, I reduced significantly my calves pain and no calves injuries set me back in my training.
So in order to become a speedier and healthier runner, we can start introducing some great exercise for glutes and enjoy the benefits. Here are some examples of my favorite exercise!

Glute exercises for runners

Hip Thrust

This is my number one exercise for growing your glutes. You can use either a bench or a machine to perform it. If you never tried hip thrust, you don’t need to add weight, you can use some light loop band around your quads.
If you feel more advanced, you can add a barbell. Or if you feel very advanced- you can add both!


Squats need almost no explanation because they are probably the most popular exercise in the fitness world. But they are also a critical exercise for the runners and trust me- every professional runner do squats! Start with no weight or some light weight and add more gradually. Moreover, squats help you develop power also in your quads and hamstrings!

Fire Hydrant

This is another great exercise and you don’t need any special equipment to do it. However, I will suggest you add a loop band if you want better results.

Glute Bridges

Like Fire Hydrant, you don’t need a gym to perform them. Again, I would add a loop band for additional force.

Bulgarian Split Squats

One amazing exercise that targets our glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves! I absolutely love this exercise not only because it’s Bulgarian 🙂 but because it’s so complex that strengthens your whole lower body. For great results here- I suggest you use a barbell!

Other ways to target your glutes muscles

Using your glutes muscles more often in workouts will also make them more efficient and you can activate them better while running.

  • Running on a hilly course is one way
  • Doing hill sprints will definitely activate your glutes muscles as well
  • Specific pre-warm up drills can also be very beneficial

For best results, it is great if you can add both strength training and some of the other ways mentioned in the last paragraph. Definitely having stronger glutes will not only make you look better but it will make you run faster!


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