‘Engage’ your glutes or core

By Keith Bateman

This is an example of trying to use the consequences of running well to make you run well which is a flawed argument. It’s like thinking the tail wags the dog.

Some of the consequences of running with good technique are a cadence in the range of 180-190 for most speeds, hips and feet flying higher off the ground, less ground-contact time, and a balanced use of muscles, leading to good posture. Their glutes (gluteus medius), core and all postural muscles will be in use, naturally. Poor running technique will produce the opposite of all of these and improving technique is the way to correct them all.

Runners with good technique finish their landing in a near-vertical stance and this enables all the postural muscles to work. These good landings, especially when combined with wearing flat shoes enable the spine to be neutral. In this position, the postural muscles of the trunk are able to fully engage, which keeps the upper body strong.

If your glutes are weak (not ‘engaging’) it is simply that you are not using them because you are not in the right alignment – your technique is not right and almost certainly you are wearing shoes with a drop. When you run correctly, you don’t have to think about ‘engaging’ the glutes or the core as it happens because of the position you are in.