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What Muscles Are Used and Firmed While Jogging?

What Muscles Are Used and Firmed While Jogging?


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Jogging trains your heart muscle and also targets most of the muscles of the lower body. Your thighs, hips, buttocks, abdominals, calves and feet all work together to keep one foot moving in front of the other. Understanding which muscles are used and firmed while jogging can help you maintain proper form and do strengthening exercises off the track that will enhance your jogging sessions.

Thighs

The muscles at the fronts of the thighs, the quadriceps, and those at the back of the thighs, the hamstrings, work together to extend and bend the knee during a jog. In some people, one of these muscle groups becomes stronger than the other which can lead to imbalances and injury or pain. When you jog, focus on using the front of the thigh to swing your leg forward and the back of the thigh to push off the ground.

Glutes

The buttock and outer hip muscles help keep your pelvis level when you run. They also allow you to extend your hip and propel you forward. The three muscles of the glutes, the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, are strengthened during jogging, but can use a little help in addition through moves such as single-leg squats and single-leg hip hinges.

Hips

Every time you lift your leg during a jog, your hip flexors -- called the illiopsoas -- activate. These muscles at the front of the hip, just above the thighs, become stronger and tighter, with regular jogging. Focus on them during post-workout stretching with moves such as the runner's lunge in which you place your feet into a lunge position with the back knee on the floor. Lean forward into the front knee slightly to open up the back leg's hip flexor.

Calves

Your calf muscles, made up of the large gastrocnemius and the smaller soleus, absorb much of the shock every time you take a step when jogging. These muscles also assist in pushing off the ground to move forward. Jogging strengthens the muscles of the calf so your lower legs look more shapely and defined.

Abdominals

You may not be crunching as you jog, but you are working your abs. To stand upright and avoid a forward lean that can put excessive pressure on your low back, you must engage your abdominal muscles slightly as you jog. This tightens and strengthens them so you stand taller all the time, not just when out on a jog, and improves posture and back health.

Feet

Your feet contain more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments -- almost all of which are activated during a jog. You don't go out for a jog to create shapely, sexy feet, but stronger feet do improve overall daily function and stamina. To make sure the muscles of your feet are strengthened and not over-stressed, choose shoes that are right for your gait and replace them regularly.



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