It’s not often you find a gem of an exercise that makes an improvement very quickly. I love the resistance band, it’s so good for working the glutes. I get mine from Perform better, the heavy black band. It’s the smallest, tightest one at about £6. You can get cheaper ones but they’re not as challenging and slacken pretty quick.
Since using it I’ve had no ITB injuries, popliteus, hamstrings or calf strains and I swear this (along with minimalist trainers) have made the difference.
Runner’s World had a couple of good glutæus maximus (such a cool name) exercises in the April issue (see below). I do the resistance band walks and they proper get the muscles working. They’re good to do a few times a week to build up the strength and a must before every run.
The key is to keep constant tension on the band and not drag the foot when doing the side steps. It looks easy enough but believe me when you’ve done 8 side steps a couple of times the foot starts to drag – it’s hard.
Why is it so good for running?
When I was given this exercise I had really weak glutes. When you run, they’re the biggest muscle that should drive the whole body. If they’re weak you overuse other areas like your hamstrings and calves. Eventually these start to play up as they get tired and you can get injured. I ended up with ITB problems, recurring popliteus (another great word) injury and calves like a shot putter! Makes sense really. I promise if you do these before a run it works, you’ll get less injuries – honest!