This instructional article/video is part 3 of a 3-part series.  See part 1 and part 2 here with video. We hope that your glutes will enjoy becoming smarter. And why is that?  As was explained in part 1, runners often have under-performing glutes that can lead to big trouble. When your behind is slow and fail to do its job, then other parts of your body suffer and can lead to low back pain, runner’s knee, iliotibial-band syndrome, Achilles tendonopathy, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and more. So you don’t want to get behind in your glute know-how. Jennifer Pilotti, M.S. and Sarah Young, M.S. will show you how to get your butt into gear, so you then can kick butt in training and racing. –NRC


Glute 303

by Jennifer Pilotti, M.S. and Sarah Young, M.S.

If you are reading this, then we trust that you have watched and mastered Glute 101 and Glute 202.  (And of course, read our accompanying text!). If so, you will know why your caboose is so important in regards to your ability to run well. If you are unable to maximize the power, strength, mobility, and stability that you can naturally get from your own behind, then you will only end up falling behind with your potential as a runner.

But if you want to jump right in with Glute 303 and without completing the “course prerequisites,”  Glute 101 and Glute 202, then we have this simple warning: proceed no further. You have not laid down the essentials that you need to get the most out of Glute 303. Go back to whichever steps you have yet to master and get to work. There are no shortcuts. If you proceed without completing the prerequisites, then you will only prove that your behind is not the dumbest part of you.

And remember it’s all about quality reps, not quantity. Practice gradual progress with each Glute IQ level and feel free to build up to three sets of 10 to 15 reps to aid you in owning each exercise. If you are currently training for a race and are short on time, you can do one set of these exercises 2 to 3 times a week on rest days and/or shorter run days.

Now get your groove on with Glute 303!

Glute 303 Exercises:

1) Single Leg Squat:
Stand up tall with your toes pointing straight ahead, feet grounded.  Place all of your weight on the right leg and gently pick your left leg up behind you.  Place your hands on your hips and be aware that your hips feel level.  Maintaining that sense of levelness, sit your hips back, like you are sitting in a chair.  Lower down only as far as you can while maintaining proper alignment and good knee position.  The knee should point straight ahead, not in or out, and should not go over the toes.  *Remember, this movement should be initiated with the hip, not with the knee.  Perform 10-15 repetitions and switch sides.

2) Cook Hip Lift:
Lie on your back with your knees bent, toes pointing straight ahead.  Take a tennis ball and place it on the lower left ribcage. Draw the left leg in towards your chest in order to hold the tennis ball in place. Place your hands around the shin, holding it lightly. Remember it is the hip flexors of the left leg holding the tennis ball and left thigh in place, not your hands. Press firmly through the right foot, engaging the big toe, pinkie toe, and heel.  Lift your hips up.  Gently engage your abdominals and do not let your hips rotate.  Perform 10-15 repetitions and switch sides.

3a) Side plank with abduction Pre-qualifier:
Lie on your right side, with your right elbow directly underneath your shoulder and your right forearm perpendicular to the upper arm.  Your legs should be extended, with your feet staggered, right foot in front of left.  Slide your right shoulder gently down and think about gently engaging the abdominals.  Lift the right side of the body up, with the right hip lifting as well, making a side plank.  Your left hand can either be on your left hip.  Your body should be in one straight line, with the back of the neck long and the shoulders, hips, and ankles in one line.  If this is challenging, stay here and work on building strength in this position by holding for 10 seconds, lowering down for 5, and lifting back up for 10, repeating 3 times.  Once you are able to hold this position for 30 seconds, go to part II.

3b) Side plank with abduction Part II:
Perform the same set-up as described above, except stack the feet, so the right foot is on top of the left foot.  Maintaining excellent spinal alignment, lift up into a side plank and lift the left leg up, keeping the toes pointing straight ahead, not angled up to the ceiling.  Hold for a count of 5.  Lower down, reset, and repeat 5-10 times.  Remember to never sacrifice quality for quantity.

4) Stu’s Airplane Weighted Edition:
Find a weight or a household item that weighs between 5 and 15 pounds. Pick up the item and hold it chest level. The heavier the item, the closer you will hold it to your body. Stay on the conservative side, weight wise, at first. While holding the weight stand up tall, feet together, with your shoulders back and your abdomen gently engaged. Hinge at the hip so the right leg extends behind you, right thigh parallel with the ground and your right heel pressing firmly away from you. Your right thigh and torso should be in line. Keeping the abdomen braced as though you were about to be punched, rotate to the right, opening the entire body; hip, leg, and torso, to the right. Be sure to move from the hip. Return to center and rotate the entire body as a unit to the left. Repeat 10-15 times. Switch sides

5) Multiplanar Lunges:
Begin standing tall, toes pointing straight ahead, lengthening the crown of the head to the ceiling and hands by your side.  Lunge your right leg forward, dropping the back knee straight down towards the floor.  Be sure your right knee points straight ahead and your body stays fairly vertical (try not to lean forward).  Press firmly through your right foot, pressing the right leg back up.  Keep the foot up.  Don’t let it touch the ground.  From here, lunge the right leg out to the right, this time keeping the left leg straight and sinking the right hip back.  The right knee should not rotate in and the weight should be evenly distributed over the right big toe, pinkie toe, and heel.  Your torso should remain fairly upright, although a small hinge forward at the hip to maintain balance is okay.  Press firmly through the right foot and bring it back to center, not touching the foot to the ground.  Finally, lunge the right foot behind you, dropping your right knee towards the floor and bending the left knee so the thigh is about parallel to the floor.  Repeat 5-10 cycles and switch sides.

6) Stu’s Airplane Rear Lunge Edition:
Stand up tall, hands on the hips and crown of the head extending gently towards the ceiling.  Lunge your right leg back, dropping the right knee towards the floor and maintaining proper lunge position in the left leg.  Press firmly through the left foot and straighten the left knee to extend at the hip, bringing the right leg behind you.  Keeping your hands on your hips, rotate your entire body to the right, center, and left, performing Stu’s airplane.  Once your body is back to center, drop the right foot back down to a lunge position.  Perform up to 10 repetitions and switch sides.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jennifer Pilotti, M.S or Sarah Young, M.S.