Any time I’ve ever had a sports massage, I have always been told I had extremely tight glutes. In my mind I took that to mean you have really strong glutes but it seems this isn’t the case. This morning, as I started out my run, I could tell I was holding a lot of tension in my glutes and it was affecting my running form. Once I focused on letting the tension go, my stride really opened up and my running felt so incredibly efficient. It was awesome.
When I got home, I decided to look into tight glutes. Well it turns out, I think this may have been a big contributing factor to my injury in February. Glutes are important.
Your glutes are the largest, most powerful muscle in the body. When they are inhibited, they can affect everything from your hip flexors to your lower back muscles. (Wait, isn’t that what was wrong with me for 5 weeks?) If your glutes are inhibited, this means they can be either too tight or too weak. Want to know if you have inhibited glutes? Try the hip extension test. Right now it seems mine are pretty normal. (The goal will be to keep them this way as I slowly pick my running back up.) Your glutes are the muscles that help keep your pelvis, femur, ankle, and knee in alignment. If that gets out of whack, you could potentially have issues with your lower back, your IT Band, or even your knees. Um, not good.
This website has some great stretches and exercises for getting the glutes firing properly. In addition, it has some stretches for the piriformis. I know I’ve said this before but it continues to amaze me how running is a complete, whole body, activity. In order to be an efficient runner, all the parts have to be in sync with one another. Kind of like a nice, fancy car… 🙂
Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Running Update: This morning was a glorious run. The weather was perfect, my body felt great, and everything went by effortlessly. I ran 9 miles and that is my longest runs since my injury. I keep reminding myself that some of the best female runners are in their 30s. I turn 30 in two weeks so maybe my time is approaching. 😉 Stats are here.