Show Your Bum Some Love

Canadian Running - - DEPARTMENTS - By Tara Camp­bell

Do these pants make my butt look big? It’s a ques­tion echoed by women through­out North America on a daily ba­sis – and not sur­pris­ingly. So­ci­ety can be quite judg­men­tal and fo­cused on the shape and size of one’s rear end. More of­ten than not, it seems, when a woman speaks about her bum it car­ries a neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion.

Per­haps fe­male run­ners can help change this nar­ra­tive by em­brac­ing their back­sides and un­der­stand­ing the vi­tal role their glutes play in over­all per­for­mance and in­jury pre­ven­tion. The bum (glutes) should be val­ued no mat­ter what shape or size, how­ever many women still cringe at the thought of strength­en­ing this area of their body.

Phys­io­ther­a­pist Chelsea Gue­bert, at Sum­mit Sports and Health in Saska­toon says the ma­jor­ity of her clients who re­sist work­ing on glute strength are women.

“Any­time you say strengthen, the lights go on and the first re­sponse is ‘I don’t want to get big,’” says Gue­bert. She tries to ease her clients’ con­cerns by ex­plain­ing that get­ting strong doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean get­ting big­ger.

“To bulk up takes a lot of work. You have to be train­ing at a su­per high vol­ume and tak­ing in a ton of calo­ries.” That’s a dif­fer­ent goal than sim­ply try­ing to build strength. What’s more likely to hap­pen when work­ing on strength is the body will be­come more toned, more de­fined and there will be “in­creased ef­fi­ciency and strength with move­ments,” ex­plains Gue­bert.

Un­der­stand­ing the pos­i­tive im­pact strong glutes have on per­for­mance can go a long way in mo­ti­vat­ing run­ners to work on the area. It’s not just about run­ning ef­fi­ciency and stride turnover or speed and power, which are ob­vi­ously ben­e­fi­cial to run­ners. “It’s also about in­jury pre­ven­tion,” says Gue­bert. “A lot of repet­i­tive strain in­juries can be pre­vented with proper glute and core strength” – this in­cludes: patellofemoral pain syn­drome ( pfps) also known as run­ners knee, iliotibial band fric­tion syn­drome ( itbfs), plan­tar fasci­itis, shin splints and patel­lar ten­donopathies. “It’s all about mus­cle bal­ance and load shar­ing”, says Gue­bert. “A mus­cle

doesn’t have to be big to be ef­fec­tive.” How­ever it does have to be strong, re­spon­sive and able to fire, over and over again – and that takes work. This can be a chal­lenge for recre­ational run­ners with al­ready busy sched­ules. Most will opt to get their miles in rather than fit in a strength ses­sion on a hec­tic day.

Gue­bert sug­gests look­ing at strength work as an in­vest­ment rather than lost time on the road.

“If you want a healthy, long-last­ing run­ning ca­reer, or a sea­son, your abil­ity to sus­tain that is de­pen­dent on the strength work you put in. How many miles do you put on your ve­hi­cle be­fore you take it in for an oil change, or tune up?” asks Gue­bert. “It’s kind of the same thing. You have to be do­ing main­te­nance on your body to make sure it can with­stand the pres­sures and with­stand the loads. If you want to minimize pain and reach your goals, you have to do a lit­tle ground work.”

In­vest­ing time in strength train­ing is just like any other in­vest­ment: you want to get the most out of it. In or­der to do that it’s im­por­tant to en­sure work­outs are done ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively. This means fo­cus­ing on what you’re do­ing and not sim­ply go­ing through the mo­tions.

“It’s im­por­tant to have body aware­ness, and to un­der­stand what you’re work­ing,” says Gue­bert. “The key to max­i­miz­ing the ben­e­fit from any ex­er­cise is to un­der­stand what you’re try­ing to ac­com­plish and what mus­cle you are try­ing to ac­ti­vate. Body aware­ness is huge, and a lot of peo­ple just don’t pay at­ten­tion.”

It all may sound quite de­mand­ing, but there is room to have fun too. It can be ben­e­fi­cial on some days to go for a swim, grab your rollerblades or take the dog for a hike, rather than lift weights or log miles.

“It’s all about bal­ance. You can’t get caught up in any one thing,” says Gue­bert. “Va­ri­ety truly is the spice of life, so make time in your rou­tine for crosstrain­ing and strength and core ex­er­cises.”

ba Side Plank: Hand and feet (arm ex­tended)Set-up A • Po­si­tion your­self on your side as shown • Have your knees, hips and head in a straight lineEx­e­cu­tion B • Push up onto your hand and lift hips off the floor • Raise your top arm straight up and out to the side

Bridge: Al­ter­nat­ing leg raiseSet-up A • Lay on your back with feet flat. • Band around your kneesEx­e­cu­tion • Lift hips into bridge po­si­tion B • Straighten one knee, al­ter­nate legs c

Hip Ab­duc­tion Ec­cen­tric (band) Set-up • Stand with good pos­ture, feet shoul­der width apart • Hold onto a sup­port for bal­ance if neededEx­e­cu­tion • Lift your leg out to the side • Stop when your trunk starts tolean or bend • Slowly re­turn to the start­ing po­si­tion

ab Side Step­ping (band)Set-up A • Stand with feet shoul­derwidth apart, band at knees Ex­e­cu­tion B • Squat with good form • At the bot­tom of the squat, step to one side • Bring trail­ing leg back into good squat po­si­tion

Run­ner’s Step UpSet-up A • Stand in front of a box or stepthat is be­low the level of the kneeEx­e­cu­tion B • Step up onto the box and bring theop­po­site leg up to­wards your chest • Lower down in a con­trolled man­ner • Re­peat, al­ter­nat­ing legsba

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