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Running myths and misconceptions exposed!

Unlike most superheroes (we're not superheroes), we do not possess any superpowers (unless irony and satire is a superpower!). We make use (to the best that we can) of intellect, detective skills, science and technology (3D) physical prowess (and photoshop) to help rid the city of misconceptions to help bring the truth to the people! These days, it's really tricky for anyone to follow advice in magazines or forums as R&D (research and development) in the past 2 years (maybe?) has gone supernova in the world of biomechanics causing much of the material given 2 years ago to appear to be dated and somewhat incorrect. At StrideUK, our intention is to expose certain running related assumptions (often anatomy related) that just may not hold water in todays understanding of movement. You decide!

Glute Activation (running misconception no 484)

Glute activation

Run away if anyone says to you "your glutes aren't activating" (such a muscular malfunction would probably render you incapable of running away as it would be unlikely for you to extend your leg sufficiently behind you to allow yourself to propel forward!). This 'anatomical misconception' has got to be one of the most common responses we get from our clients, often given to them by a 'health professional' who clearly doesn't know their 'glute from their elbow!'
Being at the centre of the posterior chain (located above the hamstrings and beneath the lower back), the glutes give us the strength to stand, stabilise and walk (pretty much the transformation stage from our ape like ancestors in trees to begin their bipedal journey on the ground).  The theory that they aren't engaging / firing/ working is simply a myth. 

an artists impression of no glute activation
If, having no glute activation did exist, we believe that the runner would probably look something like this.

This synergy of muscle groups (hamstrings, glutes and lower back muscles) help stabilise the pelvis for locomotion and also work together for daily functional patterns of movement such as bending over to pick things up (eccentric movement) and being able to return you back up again (concentric). This means: If you are standing, walking, running or doing any daily chores which require you to bend... your glutes are activating!  Therefore, the question is not neccessarily about whether they are working, it's more about how much they are contributing towards movement alongside it's neighbouring team of posterior muscles. 
Brain strain warning: More than often, an overpowered opposing muscle group (hip flexors) can present a smoke screen scenario to give the impression that the glutes aren't contributing as efficiently as they could. This is where despite weekly bums and tums classes, the benefits don't appear to be paying off. This is where a series of screening tests are required to truly understand why the glutes appear to 'lag' or 'fail to fire' rather than give you a theraband and expect an instant cure! 

New titles coming soon!

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