40 Days to Stronger (and Activated) Glute Muscles

It was about 6 years ago when I realized my strongest muscle was doing absolutely nothing for my running.  I was constantly getting injured and I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out what I was doing wrong.

Become a healthier, stronger runner by working on your glutes
Marc has gotten stronger and more resilient because of his glute strength

I did my warm-up routine daily, I was strengthening my muscles through strength training, I was adding miles slowly and using speed work sparingly, but I was still getting knocked to the sidelines more times than I’d like to admit.

What was going on and why couldn’t I stay healthy?  During one of my attempts to get healthy landed me at Dr. Shane McCann’s office in Haddonfield.  We worked on managing the pain I was experiencing, but also running through a litany of exercises to find any glaring issues.

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When he asked me to do a bridge exercise, he found what could possibly be the cause: a really weak (and hibernating) glute muscle. This was a bit startling to me, especially, because I felt that I was pretty well-rounded and strong. But I couldn’t activate my glute; and that was the problem.

After years of acute and chronic pains, I finally had somewhat of an answer that I could work on. I’ve had smaller injuries since then, but nothing like what I was experiencing prior to learning about my glutes!

Glutes for Runners

Our glutes (the butt muscle) is a group of 3 muscles – the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus – which help our running in so many different ways.  Our glutes, which are supposed to be the driving force in so many running-specific activities, are often not active and not very helpful.  This lack of engagement from our glute puts an added strain on our other muscles and joints and once they get tired, they start breaking down and failing us.

Glute muscles are in charge of keeping our pelvis level – think of your pelvis region as a bowl full of water.  If your bowl is “tipped”, you’ll experience an imbalance somewhere along your kinetic chain.

Without a stable pelvis, our back and knees take a lot more of the stress. Your hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, or any other big running muscle has to work harder than it is intended to do so. When you keep getting chronic injuries in these muscle areas, we tend to think it’s because they are the problem when in fact it could be that they are the symptom. The problem is the glute and the pain manifests in the affected area.  

Marc using bands to strengthen his glutes
Having stronger glute muscles will make you a better runner

My Glute Experience

Just like in my case, I kept having debilitating calf pain that I assumed was because my calves were weak. As it turns out, yes, they were weak, but they were weak because they were being overworked. The pain I was having wasn’t because there was something wrong with my calves, but because my glute muscles weren’t doing their job. This caused my calves to take up the extra work and before I knew it, I was stressing them to the point of failure.

Have glute muscles that aren’t firing when you’re running? Try #TrainwithMarc’s “40 Days Glute Routine” for stronger glute muscles! #runcoach

To fix this issue of always being one step away from being injured, I was put on an activation and strengthening routine to activate and engage my glutes.   The plan was simple and I was fully on board – I wanted and desperately needed relief.  What you’ll see below is the routine that was put together for me from my wife with input from many different sources.  I went through this routine twice before I felt comfortable with the progress I had made.  For some, you might have to do these exercises for the foreseeable future, and for others, like myself, I have made them a part of my weekly routine, rather than needing to do them on a daily basis.


Below, you’ll find the routine. I recommend starting this as soon as possible, even if you don’t think your glutes are bad like mine were. This is something ALL runners can and should be doing because our glutes are so powerful, but also so lazy. You don’t need any special equipment to do this and if you don’t know what an exercise is, you can easily look them up – it is designed to be easy to follow!

When you’ve checked out the post, you can scroll below the workout and fill out the form for a pdf of the workout. You can save it to your Google Drive and access it at any time. Have any questions? You can ask me any time:


Glute Strength Work

10 day cycle # 1(do every other day)

  • 10 donkey kicks
  • 10 fire hydrants
  • 10 bridges + 30-second hold (hold something between legs)
  • Plank – 45-second hold
  • side plank – 30 seconds hold each side
  • 20 air squats

10 day cycle # 2 (do every other day)

  • 15 donkey kicks
  • 15 fire hydrants
  • 10 bridges + 45-second hold (hold something between legs)
  • Plank – 60 second
  • Side plank – 45 seconds hold each side
  • 10 weighted squats

10 day cycle # 3 (do every other day)

2 sets:

  • 15 donkey kicks
  • 15 fire hydrants
  • 10 bridges + 45-second hold (hold something between legs)
  • Plank – 60 second
  • Side plank – 45 seconds hold each side
  • 10 weighted squats

10 day cycle # 4 (do every other day)

  • 20 clamshells
  • 15 donkey
  • Side plank – 10 dips
  • 10 bridge + 30-second hold
  • 10 single leg bridge each side
  • 20 weighted squats
  • 10 single leg deadlift (each side)
Using squats to improve my glute strength
Use air squats will improve your glute strength in just 40 days

I know what you are probably thinking: “I don’t have weak glute muscles. This isn’t for me.” Even if that is absolutely the case, you should still be doing strength work to improve your flexibility, range of motion, and your ability to withstand miles and miles of pounding. This routine – it’s every other day! – shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes. This I know: if you could do 15 minutes worth of work to help you be a healthier and stronger runner, you’d do it. If you are perplexed by random and constant injuries, this is a very easy thing you can do to minimize your time on the sideline.

Glute Resources

Do you have glute issues too? This resource might be enough for you to get stronger, activated glute muscles. But if it’s not enough, you might want more resources I’ve written about. You can find them here:

To make it even easier for you, I will email you a pdf of the routine. All you have to do is fill out this super easy form. You’ll get an email from me with the full routine + you’ll be added to my newsletter.

Use this 40 day routine to build glute strength and activate your strongest muscle
In 40 days, you could have a stronger glute muscle!

Did you find this article helpful? Let me know by leaving a comment below or join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.


Need a running coach for your next race?

TrainwithMarc will create the training plan so you can focus on your running goals!

Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach
Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach

Marc is a USATF Track and Field & Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT O2 certified running coach. I have more than 19 years of experience running and more than 10 years of experience coaching runners. Click for more information!


Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.

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