Best Bodyweight Glute Exercises For Runners To Prevent Injury

4 Body Weight Glute Exercises for Runners

Running uses every muscle in your legs, so it’s important to keep your leg muscles strong if you want to run well. Weak glutes will hinder your overall performance and can even increase your risk of injury. Fortunately, adding a few quick glute exercises to your strength training routine can help keep you running longer.

Your glutes are among the most important muscles you use to run, so keeping them strong and flexible is essential for proper running technique. Use our four bodyweight glute exercises for runners to keep themselves fit and ready to hit the track.

We’ll briefly explain why your glutes are so important and then thoroughly explain how to perform each exercise.

How Your Glutes Affect Your Running

Although the glutinous maximus gets the most attention, your glutes are actually a group of 3 different muscles:

  • Gluteus maximus – the largest of the three muscles, which is responsible for holding your pelvis upright
  • Gluteus minimus – the smallest of the three muscles, which is responsible for rotating our legs and providing support to the pelvis
  • Gluteus medius – located between the maximus and minimus, it helps provide more pelvic support and rotation

As you run, your glutes hold your body upright and keep your pelvis and legs aligned as you move. Without strong glutes, you would lose balance and topple over anytime you tried to lift your legs. So, it’s safe to say that strong glutes matter a lot more than just how they look in your new jeans.

If you want to improve your balance and reduce your risk of leg and back injuries, work these four exercises into your routine:

  • Rising bridges (x10 times)
  • Single-leg bridge holds (x10 times for each leg)
  • Glute Kickbacks (x15 times for each leg)
  • Step-ups + knee raises (x15 for each leg)

If you’re unsure how to do any of these exercises, continue on to read our in-depth guide for each of the four movements.

Related: 11 Reasons Why Your Running Performance Isn’t Improving!

Rising Bridges

Rising Bridges

Using a mat for added comfort, lay with your back against the floor. Place your hands down by your waist and bend your knees so your feet are flat and tucked just below your hips.

Raise your hips up towards the ceiling by pressing down through your heels. Focus the tension on your glutes and raise up as high as you can without it hurting. Hold the position for at least 10 seconds.

Lower back down to the ground and then repeat 10 more times.

Related: 6 Exercises That Strengthen Runners’ Hamstrings

Single-leg Bridge Holds

Single Leg Bridge Hold

Start by laying on a mat as you would for a standard bridge.

Raise your hips up towards the ceiling and then extend one leg out as straight as you can get it. Pull back through your toes and extend through the heel. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds or until you cannot hold it any longer.

Lower your hips back down to the ground and switch legs. Extend the opposite foot and repeat.

Related: Can Running Give You Abs?

Glute Kickbacks

Glute Kickbacks

Using a mat for added comfort, position yourself on your hands and knees with your back level to the ground. Your shoulders should be directly above your hands and your hips over your knees.

Push back through your right leg as if you were kicking something behind you. Fully extend your leg as far back as you can without it hurting. As your glutes flex, hold the position for a moment before lowering back down.

Repeat using the opposite leg and continue 15 times on each leg. Be sure to completely lower your knees to the ground before continuing to the next rep.

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Step-ups + Knee Raises

Step Up Knee Raises

You will need an elevated surface such as a hardened box, a bench, or a staircase to complete this exercise. The surface should be at an appropriate but challenging height.

Start by standing towards your surface. Step one foot onto the box and bend your knee to a 90-degree angle. Press through your foot to stand up on the box. This should be a clean motion as you extend through your quadriceps and glutes.

After you have gotten up onto the box, continue to balance using your right foot and lift your opposite leg up towards your chest. Try to control this movement to make it clean and steady. Do not jerk your leg up into the air.

Briefly pause before stepping backward and down to the ground. Repeat by starting on the opposite foot and bring the other knee up towards your chest.

Related: Why are core muscles important to runners?


It might seem simple but just these four exercises can increase your glutes’ overall performance and endurance as you run. As your glutes grow stronger, you’ll find that you have more balance and feel steadier on your feet even after a long run. Don’t put yourself at risk of an injury when you could work your glutes in just 5 to 10 minutes.

Related: Is Running Bad For Your Knees?

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Coach Scott's Credentials:
  • Published Author
  • RRCA Certified Running Coach (Level 2)
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He has published over 20 books including, Beginner's Guide to Half Marathons: A Simple Step-By-Step Solution to Get You to the Finish Line in 12 Weeks! (Beginner To Finisher Book 3), which has become an Amazon International #1 bestseller. Scott specializes in helping new runners become injury-free race finishers. He recently completed his 22nd half marathon race. 

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Best Bodyweight Glute Exercises For Runners To Prevent Injury