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Gluteal muscles can provide a massive propulsive force that enables us to run fast and efficiently by waking up the hamstrings, another powerful—and important—set of muscles. There are plenty of glute-strengthening exercises out there that can get your butt into shape, but one of the most effective is the lateral squat walk with a resistance band.
“Running is generally a linear forward movement, which can lead to weaknesses in other planes of motion,” says Tyler McCandless, a Newton-sponsored athlete with personal bests of 2:15 in the marathon and 1:03 in the half marathon. “A strong set of glutes makes a big difference in preventing injuries.”
How to Do It:
Step 1: Attach a resistance band to each ankle.
Step 2: Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart. You may need to shorten the band in order to get the right resistance.
Step 3: Get into a squat position, knees at roughly a 45-degree angle, and walk sideways. Take 5 to 10 steps to the left, then right, keeping your knees bent and maintaining resistance on the band throughout. Repeat. Try keeping your arms outstretched in front of you, which will provide balance as you do the exercise. “Slower and better quality is more important than attempting to do this fast with poor quality,” McCandless says.