1 Move to Prevent Runner's Knee — Try It Today

POPSUGAR Photography | Kat Borchart
POPSUGAR Photography | Kat Borchart

It's no secret that running can be really, really hard on your knees. Those who love running (myself included) can often overlook knee pain or simply try to ignore it. Proper recovery is important, but did you know there are exercises — butt-based exercises — you can do to prevent runner's knee?

I recently took the Best Butt Ever class at Equinox, where I met the bubbly, ridiculously enthusiastic, supersmart Caroline Jordan — one of San Francisco's sweetest and most popular trainers. Caroline taught me that booty workouts are for way more than aesthetics; strong glutes are actually so important for the health of your back, legs, and knees and can even prevent running injuries. "A strong butt is a runner's strongest asset," said Jordan. "Running is generally a linear forward movement, which can lead to weaknesses in other planes of motion."

And that is where working the gluteus medius — located on the sides of the pelvis — comes into play. It helps stabilize the pelvis by preventing too much swaying side to side, which not only makes you a more efficient runner, but also takes excess pressure off the hip and knee joints. Jordan recommends strengthening this part of your butt with the lateral squat walk with a resistance band, emphasizing that "through cross training and building powerful gluteal muscles, you run fast and injury-free."

All you need is a resistance band, some space to move, and a few minutes — you'll be on your way to a healthier, happier, more comfortable run.

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  • Place a resistance band around your ankles. Start with a lighter band and work your way up to a heavier band.
  • Begin standing with feet directly underneath your hips and your hands on your hips.
  • Squat halfway down and sidestep to the right, leading with your heel to make the glute muscles engage as far as you can manage without allowing your knees to rotate toward each other. Bring the left leg toward the right with enough space to keep some resistance in the band. Concentrate on keeping your pelvis level as you move sideways.
  • Step to the right 10 times, then reverse, stepping to the left 10 times. Repeat for three sets.

After completing the exercises, be sure to stretch your glute muscles or roll out your IT bands using a foam roller.