Does running build your glutes? (Yes with my advice)


For a very long time, I did not have an answer to this question… Because I myself was in this case: run without seeing any result on my buttbut only on the front of my thighs.

Many people who run regularly do some muscle building and eat a balanced diet. And yet, they do not see a big change in the physiognomy of their legs and in the muscles of the buttocks. Instead, they find:

  • Swollen quadriceps;
  • Flat buttocks, not very muscular and crushed.

I have often advised build more muscle in the back of the thighs, the glutes for these runners (and myself) in this case. Do less squats. But often few results.

Today, I think I finally found a real answer! 6 months ago, I completely changed my way of running and I see drastic changes in my figure and in my muscular sensations.

bounced butt running shoes

To summarize, in January 2022 I was diagnosed with anterior ankle impingement, related to ankle sprains. Talking about it with the swimrun coach who pushes me in my training, he told me about a foot that was not very muscular, a stride that was not at all suitable.

On this advice and that of my physiotherapist Jérôme Auger, I completely changed my way of running.

Much more minimalist:

  • Fewer shoes with large soles;
  • Lots of barefoot running;
  • A huge job on the rebound.

Running is bouncing. It’s not looking for the ground forward. With the big shoes, we taught our body to run as if we were actually walking fast. That is, throwing the leg forward, landing on the heel.

This landing causes a big shock on the ankle, knee: it is therefore up to the quadriceps (muscle in front of the thigh) to absorb this enormous shock.

It is in fact for the quadriceps to build muscle in eccentric to absorb braking with each stride, then restore energy to re-lift off the ground.

That’s what makes your thighs swell when you run. And the calves and glutes do not do much with this technique.

In another article, I explained in detail how to run well and the right position to adopt to benefit from the benefits of this physical activity.

In summary, the really good way to run – and for running to build glutes – is to always have your foot behind your chest, and landing just below your hips.

By placing the front of the foot and immediately the heel, for a rebound that is done from the heel. To relaunch the natural spring of the foot / calf / thigh.

In short, if you have big quadriceps and few glutes when running : is that you are running badly. Let’s be honest. You are in struggle.

Learning to run is learning to bounce back. To put your foot down better.

And it is above all to get rid of the ultra maximalist shoes of the moment which give you the impression of shock absorption. The opposite is needed:

  • Less drop (raised heel);
  • Fewer insoles;
  • Less cushioning;

But more natural feeling of the foot !!

run barefoot run well

When you run well, your buttocks grow with each step to project your hips forward.

We have the hamstring that pulls the heel up, and the quadriceps do not do much in the end.

In 6 months you can have a real transformation of your legs. The day after your run, you should feel mostly your calves and glutes, very little quads.

Having a runner’s body with lean legs and toned glutes is minimalist running.

And even if the champions you see on TV now run with huge soles (because of their sponsors), know that in training, they often run minimalist. They have often learned to run in very thin shoes, often even barefoot.

In summary

So finally, for running to help you gain glutes: learn to run minimalist. Change shoes, opt for thin and flexible soles. The Altra Escalantes are great. The Xeros too.

  • Strengthen your buttocks, feet, calves and ankles.
  • Less low squats, more small single leg squats.
  • More balancing work.
  • More reinforcement of the hamstrings.

Take on the Glutes CHALLENGE

Discover this targeted sports program to strengthen your buttocks with or without running to complete your sessions!

I hope this article will provide you with solutions or at least give you a better understanding of your situation. I myself really experienced this radical change. At 40! No one had really found a solution for me. I had to find it myself with my experience.

Each injury allows progress. And suddenly, this very annoying ankle problem turned into a real lesson for me.

In 2023, I promise, I’m preparing a program for you to change the way you run. A leaner body, less injury, more speed. Stay tuned and in the meantime you can do some butt exercises 😉


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