Want to prevent running-related knee injuries? Train your glutes!

running-related knee injuries, Knieblessures bij het hardlopen voorkomen

Knee injuries are one of the most common injuries that runners are confronted with. That’s not surprising – if you’re a runner, then you know how impact much your knees have to endure every time you go for a run. However, there is something you can do to prevent running-related knee injuries (aside from getting proper running shoes). You have to train your glutes!

How can training my glutes prevent running-related knee injuries?

Strength training is very important for runners. When you’re strengthening your muscles, you make it easier for yourself to run and with a correct posture. For running, some muscle groups are more important than others. While many people assume that their legs do most of the work, research proves that strengthening your glutes can actually help to prevent running-related knee injuries.

Did you know that tight hips and/or glutes are the main causes of knee pain? This particularly applies to runners, who often suffer from tight glutes due to inadequate warm-ups, not enough stretching, bad running shoes and running on uneven or unstable surfaces. Runners usually have very well-developed quads and hamstrings, but their glutes – especially their glute medius – are weak. The glute medius, however, is the stabilizer of the pelvis. In other words: by training your glutes you stabilize your hips, and therefore reduce the risk of running-related knee injuries.

What is the best way to train my glutes for running?

While compound exercises like squats can definitely help to strengthen glutes, we’d recommend runners to focus on glute isolation exercises. This is because with runners, their quads are usually much better developed than their glutes. So when you do compound exercises, your stronger quads will automatically ‘take over the load’ – resulting in your glutes still not really doing much. By doing glute isolation exercises, where you’re focussing on one specific muscle group, you basically force your glutes to wake up and get to work. And as they get stronger, the chances of getting running-related knee injuries will decrease significantly.

Why and how to do Russian push-ups

Russian push-ups

Every girl can do a perfect push-up! And once you’ve got the hang of it, you’re probably going to start looking for ways to make your push-ups more effective. One way to do this is by doing Russian push-ups. A single Russian push-up is pretty much a full workout for your arms, your shoulders and your core, so I’d definitely recommend you to give it a try.

What is a Russian push-up, exactly?

Glad you asked! The Russian push-up is a push-up variation that combines a standard push-up with a forearm plank. While both of these moves are relatively easy to perform individually, the Russian push-up integrates both in a sequence where you’re seamlessly moving back and forth between the two. This allows you to train to have more control over your own body weight. While this exercise definitely strengthens your arms and shoulders, the transition from the forearm plank also requires you so activate your core muscles. Provided you do it correctly, of course.

How do you perform Russian push-ups?

Before you start with Russian push-ups, it is recommended that you are able to perform regular push-ups correctly. If you’re not there yet, please see our beginner’s guide to doing push-ups. Are regular push-ups not a problem for you and are you up for a challenge? Below, we’ve explained how to perform Russian push-ups.

Step 1: Start in a traditional plank position. Ensure that your arms are straight and that your shoulders are directly above your wrists.

Step 2: Once you’re ready, lower yourself down until your chest is hovering about an inch above the floor.

Step 3: Shift your body backwards into a forearm plank.

Step 4: Immediately shift back into a low push-up position.

Step 5: Push yourself up to a high plank.

Repeat!

If you’re still a bit fuzzy on how to do it, check out this YouTube video.

Final thoughts

Russian push-ups offer excellent cardiovascular benefits and are a fantastic addition to your fitness routine. While it may take some time before you are able to do several reps in a row, they are significantly more effective than regular push-ups and planks performed separately. It is a great way to challenge yourself and to squeeze in a more complete workout when you’re short on time.