How do you strengthen the glutes and hip flexors? (New Q&A with Coach)

Has it really been more than two months since the last episode of Q&A with Coach? It’s time to get back into it!

Today we’re talking all about strength – specifically, how to strengthen your hip flexors and glutes.

These muscles (particularly the glutes) are critical for two things most important to runners: speed and health. If you want to run fast and stay healthy doing it, you better be getting strong.

As I’m fond of saying:

If you make no time for prevention, sooner or later you’ll have to find time for injuries.

While getting stronger isn’t an injury cure-all (no amount of strength work will fix poor training, after all), it’s one of the most effective strategies for injury prevention.

So let’s dive into episode 20 of Q&A with Coach. Linda wants to know how to get strong to fight knee pain that stems from an ankle injury:

Show Notes:

0:45 – Question: How to strengthen glutes and high flexors, especially after an ankle injury? (Thanks Linda!)
1:00 – Classic exercises to strengthen hip flexors and glutes
1:20 – Implementing routines versus individual exercises
1:50 – ITB Rehab Routine
2:00 – Standard Core Routine
2:55 – Hip flexors – tight or weak?
2:15 – Knees to nipples!
3:15 – Sit less…
4:15 – Use that foam roller! Here’s why
4:50 – Ankle mobility after a strain – why it’s critical
5:25 – Drills to increase ankle flexibility

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Referred Pain and Why “Holistic” Strength is Ideal

You might have noticed that Linda first had an ankle injury that then led to knee pain. And now she wants to strengthen her glutes and hip flexors.

There’s a lot going on there. Why did an ankle injury lead to knee pain? Why will a stronger butt reduce knee pain?

The answer is that the cause of your pain is not necessarily where the problem is located.

For example, IT Band Syndrome causes pain on the outside of the knee. But the real problem isn’t at the knee – it’s at the hip and glute muscles. So the treatment focuses on the hips and glutes, among other things.

Pain is very frequently referred from another location on your body. This is why Linda has knee pain originally from her ankle injury and is now focusing on strengthening her glutes and hips.

And for runners, healthy running is aalll in the hips.

Any runner who’s used Injury Prevention for Runners to get healthy (and stay that way) have noticed that the treatment protocols include both specific and general strength work. Holistic, well-rounded strength and athleticism is more effective than single exercises.

And the results speak for themselves.

If you’d like to learn more about this, sign up here for our free injury prevention ecourse.

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  1. Hey Jason,

    I think this is good stuff but just wanted to clarify something from the discussion points. Pain in the knee caused by poor control elsewhere is really just a mechanical issue. “Referred” pain is pain that is truly generated in one structure that is felt somewhere else; i.e. strain of the glute min can cause referred pain that mimics symptoms of IT Band Syndrome. I’m not trying to be a pain in the ass. I just think this is a useful concept to clarify.

    LOVE what you are doing with addressing stability and regional interdependence for runnerrs.


  2. Great info Jason! I’ve been doing ITB and Core routines regularly for the past few months and love the benefits/improvements I’m getting from them. I had a question in regard to the order in which the routines are done though. Sometimes I will hop around in terms of the order of the exercises (i.e. lateral leg raises, then pistol squats as opposed to lateral leg raises right over to clam shells) and I’m wondering if I should stick to the order that you’ve laid out? I really enjoy the workouts and I want to continue to get the most out of the routines so I appreciate any advice you have.