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.

This is how you can prevent annoying injuries!

Nothing is more annoying than when you’re forced to do nothing because of a nasty injury. We obviously don’t want this and it’s therefore important to avoid injuries as much as possible. With these tips you will prevent those annoying injuries from happing!

1. Always start with a warm-up

When you do a workout with cold muscles, there is a higher chance of you having muscle ache the next day! And that’s not all, because cold muscles can also make it a lot easier for you to pull or tear them. By doing a good warm up, your muscles get more flexible and can take on more when you exercise.

2. Listen to your body

Your body can tell you best how it’s feeling, so listen to it carefully! Have you suffered from muscle ache for more than a week? Do you get cramps more often? Do your shins feel irritated? Are your muscles constantly exhausted? These are all signs of injuries. Take some rest for a couple of days and when the pain/irritation continues, it’s wise to go see a physiotherapist. Together with the signals your body is giving you, he or she can tell you whats wrong so you know exactly what you can and can’t do.

3. Make sure you have the right materials

The use of wrong materials, or using them incorrectly, is one of the biggest cause of injuries. So, make sure you wear suitable shoes while exercising and use equipment in the gym properly. Take note of the instructions on the equipment to adjust them to your needs.

4. The correct execution

I know, you want to train with as much weight as you can as quickly as possible, but wait! You have enough time to achieve your goal and desired weight. It’s much more important that you execute an exercise correctly before you increase the weight. If you do an exercise incorrectly it can cause annoying injuries… So, seriously, make sure you do an exercise correctly and after that you can add more weight to it!

5. Make sure to take days off

When we have a goal in mind, we tend to think it’s good to exercise as much as possible, but believe me; your body needs rest! Just like you can get too exhausted from too little sleep, your body can also can become overwhelmed and overtrained by exercising too much. Planning in rest days ensures that your body gets the rest it needs, giving you enough energy for next weeks workout!

What are your tips for preventing injuries? Let us know so we help each other!

Want more tips? Take a look at our Fitgirlcode guide for all kinds of mind and body tips to help you with your Fit Journey. Want to know more about me? Follow me on Instagram @resyvanrooijen

Karen’s journey: From anorexia, to couch potato to a Fit Girl!

You know the phrase “you don’t know what you have, until it’s gone”? Well, that is exactly what happened to me. Ironically, it wasn’t until I had an accident that left me on the couch for 2 months, that I realized how much our bodies do for us and how little I had done for mine in the last few years. It took me getting into a situation where I couldn’t do anything at all to have this appreciation for my body.

When summer started rolling around, I felt like everyone seemed to be worried about one thing….how to get that amazing bikini body. The gyms started to get full again, more people were seen running outside and people started going on extreme diets to help them get in shape fast for this summer.  While I personally also get extra motivated when I think about that sexy bikini I want to wear with confidence, this shouldn’t be someone’s sole motivation when they want to embark on a fit journey.

I think that there is no ideal time of the year to start working on yourself. You don’t have to wait until summer is close or for the New Year to start in order for you to begin exercising and eating well. Take it from me!

How the journey began

Last year, I went on a ski trip where I ended up breaking the interior cruciate ligament of my left knee. I also gave myself two bone bruises. Because of the bone bruises, I couldn’t do anything at all because every slight movement was extremely painful. It really was the worst pain that I have ever experienced. While waiting for the bone bruises to go away and till I was able to move my leg again, all I did for 2 months straight was watch TV from my couch. When I finally could move, I started going to physiotherapy. By this point it was already too late, after not using my left leg at all for 2 months, it had become a “pudding” leg…there was seriously no muscle at all! I have never seen any part of my body in such a state.

karen's journey

Physiotherapy did not help my injury, so the only option I had left was to have a surgery to reconstruct the ligament and regain mobility of my knee.  After my surgery,  I had to start from zero once again. My life revolved around going to physiotherapy every single day just to try to gain muscle again and to help everything to heal faster.  After only 3 weeks, my leg started to look normal again and the progress was undeniable.

I was amazed to see how much my body was cooperating with me in order to get stronger, and it was at this point that I developed a love for exercise and a better sense of appreciation of my body. Ever since then, I started going to the gym and taking care of what I ate because I wanted to become a healthy and strong woman. After some months, I really started to see results.  I don’t think I will ever give up this new healthy lifestyle!

karen's journey

Nurturing a good relationship with my body

Before my knee injury, I had never been a sporty person, but I was always concerned with being skinny. Because I didn’t like to exercise or eat healthy at all,  the only way I had left to become skinny was to barely eat. This led to developing anorexia when I was just 14 years old. Ironically, after I got better, I started to eat compulsively, so my weight ended up yoyo-ing from sometimes fat to sometimes skinny.

So, my relationship with food and exercise was never really good until I had to take care of my body for my health, and not just for my image. For the first time in my life, I started to listen to my body and nourish it. I’ve found that exercising makes me feel more connected to myself and more aware of what is happening inside my head. All in all, it has brought me a new sense of balance, peace and happiness.

fit

I wanted to share my personal journey to show that we all have different paths we need to follow on our way to becoming fit, and different reasons as to why we decide to do so. Some people want to lose weight, others want to gain muscle, others – like me – have to because of an injury, etc. I think that sometimes we tend to compare ourselves to pictures from girls we see on Instagram and start diminishing our accomplishments. But being fit is about being healthier and happier with yourself, not about being skinny and having the most amazing flat and defined abs.

Learning to appreciate our bodies and treat it as a temple is really the most important thing you have to do. Once you do these things, everything else will fall into place. You will naturally start eating healthier and exercising more often, and results will come. Personally, I’m still far away from my goals and my dream body, but guess what? I’ve never been healthier and happier. Remember, small changes lead to great things.