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If you’re a regular reader here at Competitor.com, you’ll have definitely come across the importance of strength training for distance runners. Lifting weights can build a more resilient body and correct for muscle imbalances that tend to develop after distance running for many months and years.
Routines that involve functional exercises such as deadlifts and squats can strengthen the legs and hips, if performed correctly. However, many runners are novices in the gym and cannot activate their glutes effectively when performing these exercises.
RELATED: 6 Exercises to Work Your Glutes
Here are 5 steps to effectively activate your glutes during strength training:
1. Open up those hip flexors
Start each strength training session with the low band split squat. This exercise will strengthen your legs but will also provide your hip flexors with a wicked stretch. The hip flexor muscle group is commonly tight in runners and having optimal length in these muscles will facilitate better glute muscle activation.
How: Hold a handle of a band that is attached to a low anchor point with your right hand. Step back to remove slack from the band then take a large step back with your right leg. Land on your big toe joint, get tall and squeeze your right butt-cheek. Keep your arm straight and without loosing your butt squeeze, bring your right knee toward the ground. You should feel a burning stretch in front of your right hip and thigh. Pause just before your right knee touches the ground. Hold this pose for 5-seconds. Return to standing and perform 10 reps. Complete two sets per leg. See a video here.