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Muscles Are Utilized When Run

Quadriceps. Also known as quads, this is actually a muscle group made up of of four muscles on the front of your thighs, or upper legs.

Your quads get tons of work when you’re running – especially long distance and high intensity workouts like hills or intervals. But of course, remember that all of that work is high repetition and low resistance.

So they’re still a great candidate to work on in the gym to develop greater strength.

Hamstrings. Again, this is really a muscle group made up of several muscles located along the back of your thighs.

Now while these muscles work opposite to your quads, the hamstrings don’t really work hard or through a very long range of motion when running. I once had a very painful hamstring injury that laid me up from running for several months.

It’s important to work on your hamstrings in cross-training so that they are effectively strengthened to work against your powerful quads. This will help you to keep your knees healthy and you off the disabled list.

Gluteus Maximus. Better known as ‘glutes’, this muscle is what gives your backside that great, eye-catching shape.

But more than catching eyes and giving you something comfortable to sit on, your glutes help to work your hips while running. Your glutes can also get involved in a healthy lower back, so running contributes to a healthy-back fitness regime.

Calves. Again, this really a muscle group (made up of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles), though smaller than the others previously mentioned. They are located along the backside of the lower leg.

Runners with really well-developed calves show very angular muscles. I’ve seen this a lot in sprinters or myself when I’m doing heavy hill or interval training. In the gym, calf-raises can also turn weak calves into very impressive muscles.

Hip Flexors. Though not leg muscles, your hip flexors also have long and thoroughly unpronounceable names: iliacus and psoas. They’re also harder to locate as they connect your spine to your hips and your hips to your upper legs.

While these muscles don’t necessarily drive your legs while running, they are crucial for flexing your hips. So, if you like to latin dance in addition to running, you probably have pretty healthy hip flexors.

Core Muscles. In addition to the muscles of your legs, your core muscles are very much involved in running. These include your abdominal muscles which are crucial for maintaining a healthy lower back.

I recommend every runner include core fitness exercises as part of an effective cross-training program. It will keep your back healthy on long or intense runs and make you a better runner overall.