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How to Avoid Running Injuries: Best 3 Exercises to Build Stronger Glutes

She told me,

"I've never felt stronger before! I'd been doing strength work and lifting heavy regularly,

...but I don't what it is about THESE exercises.

But I'm hitting paces now that I thought were behind me.

I'm feeling confident about Chicago like I want to hit it hard...

But I can't wait to see what I can do for Boston!"

Yes, I am 100% bragging on one my strength and running performance runners right now

But isn't her story COOL?

Imagine breaking through your own plateau

Blowing your own mind,

Feeling strong,

comfortable with discomfort,

and being able to dig deep for the final kick as you approach the finish line.

ALL while NOT being afraid of lingering injuries,

wondering how bad you'll break this time,

did you do enough this training cycle

and should you have pushed harder?

Can I tell you the secret sauce?

Let you in on EXACTLY what got the runner above to where she's at now?

Besides putting in the work,

showing up for herself,

allowing herself to rest

listening to her body...

She Dared to Train Differently.

She was struggling with a hamstring strain and some lingering shin splints so she reached out...

Skippity skip to the GLUTE PART...

It's not even that her glutes were necessarily weak!

But they needed a "recalibration", a tune up. (don't we all sometimes?)

It was her willingness to Dare to Train Differently and strength train in a new way.

We made slight modifications to her existing routine and added in exercises that look like running and emphasized glute strength IN POSITIONS that you need while running...

that got her these results.

And I'd really like to show you some exercises so YOU can do the exact same thing.

You ready? Let's go.


Circuit: 2-3 sets each // 1 heavy weight Bird Dog with Leg Push into Wall (optional knee lift)

  • hold as long as able until fatigue (goal: 5-10secs)

  • Rest. repeat on the other side

Curtsey Lunge with Jump

  • 8 Reps each side

Split Squat with OH Weight

  • watch your balance!

  • x12 ea side


Let's set the record straight...

There are no magical exercises that if you do them, you will never ever ever get injured again.

There are however some types of exercises that if you do them

  • correctly

  • consistently

  • with progressive overload (lifting heavier) can avoid a whole ton of potential injuries. Some of these exercises include glute focused ones. The trick?

Finding the ones that

  • work for your body

  • activate your glutes first

  • which allow you to then build strength

I've picked the top 3 exercises that my runners in person in the clinic and online tend to respond to the best.


  • YOU DO NOT have to lift you knee off the mat!

  • THE SECRET: you're actively pushing your heel into the wall with such force that you can feel "a line of energy" from your arms, through your core, and along the entire back leg. Or just a strong muscle contraction/force. Lifting your knee off the mat is a cue I give so you know exactly how much force you're supposed to push into the wall. Just watch out: you might slip off the wall (lol).

  • This exercise places you in a position that looks like running and asks your powerhouse glute muscle to be strong and activated while in hip extension. This exercise is excellent at activating your glute, getting it ready for more intense exercises afterwards.


  • THE REAL SECRET: Have fun here ;)

  • While you don't have to jump nearly as far as I did, this exercise is an excellent plyometric that obviously targets single leg balance, you ability to absorb force when you land, AND that wind up with your leg tucked back behind're loading up that piriformis (an important glute muscle) and winding it up like a spring!

  • When you jump, you have the ability to create so much explosive power! Just imagine using that while charging up a hill. You'd be unstoppable ;)


  • Split Squats are DIFFERENT than lunges! (lunges: think wider base; this split squat is more like hip width apart but running in an anterior-posterior direction [front to back])

  • And this one gets spicy...but somehow it's still fun. I'm sure by now you can understand how a split squat looks like running: the reciprocal leg position that requires balance and it has you travel through the same hip/knee angles that a stride does...blah, blah, blah

  • THE SECRET: challenge yourself with heavy weight overhead. I used a 25# plate. When you go heavy enough, obviously you feel your arms work, but you feel something else, too. Your core engages in a new way to stay upright but ALSO resist rotation along with bending to one side. Do you ever see tired, fatigued runners start to list or droop to one side? THIS exercise helps your body prepare and beat exactly that ;)


What do you think, runner? Ready to avoid running injuries by trying out my top 3 stronger glute exercises? I think you're worth the risk.

I believe in your potential to blow your own mind and run stronger than you ever have before.

Maybe that means training harder with a different running plan...
But it may actually mean strength training like a runner.

As a runner, your legs are strong!

Don't beat yourself up by saying your glutes are weak.

It's fair to say for anyone that our glutes can always be stronger. But we forget that our glutes should be strong in various positions.

Think of it this way: doing a back squat (a squat with a barbell and plates on your shoulders) will make your glutes objectively strong.

You may start with just the bar (45#).

And you may end at 200# total.

While this is excellent, there's potential for your glutes to be missing some stability, or strength, through out your stride because we don't run in a squat position (at least I've never seen it.)

It makes a difference how you strength train.

Everyone needs to start somewhere and that somewhere is excellent.

But when it's time and you want to avoid running injuries that seem to keep creeping up regardless of what prehab or preventative exercises you do, this might be the missing piece:

Dare to Train Differently and let your strength exercises look like running.

If you're looking for more, I've got exercises you can deep dive into and get started on immediately with my FREE strength guide for runners!

Until next time running fit fam,

Dare to Train Differently, Marie Whitt, PT, DPT //

P.S. yes, really, grab more strength exercises designed for runners that look like running...and ITS FREE! FREE strength guide for runners!

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