Muscle Activation BEFORE Running is a Non-Negotiable!


Find out below how important it is for muscle activation before you run and get some easy ways of how to add it into your running routine.

Written on
September 26, 2022
Dr. Don C. Dequine Jr. PT, DPT, CSCS

Muscle Activation BEFORE Running is a Non-Negotiable!

Here is Why:

Have you ever looked at the mapping of the primary motor cortex of our brain? Also known as the Homonculus, the primary motor cortex is responsible for all our voluntary movement. Since 1937 to today, researchers have been precisely mapping what part of our brain controls which parts of our body (Catani, 2017).

Runner, let me ask you this: Which are the king and queen muscles of running? Glutes and Abs! Now, look at this caricature. How likely are you to use said muscles? Not likely!

Let me give you a quick physiology lesson: Your brain sends signals down your nerves which excites muscles to contract. Once the muscle contracts, the bones move. Now, if we use the analogy that your nerves are like a highway (or freeway, depending on where you are from) and that the signals sent are like cars driving, these images should be disturbing! With little excitement from the brain, the country bumpkin, one lane road has very few cars headed towards the glutes and abs. However, the hands and face are like a six lane, metropolitan freeway!

Here is the solution: Demand the city to widen the country bumpkin road by sending more cars! Once the roads have been widened the destination will be much more accessible.

  • Golden nugget: After you run or lift weights, which body regions are sore? It is highly likely that your low back, thighs, and calves are, and your glutes and abs are not. These are key indicators that you are not using nor have access to the king and queen muscles. To use them, your brain must know where they are. For your brain to know where they are, you must ACTIVATE them!

Here are three good ways to start:

****** If your butt is not sore after these three activation exercises, please come see us. You may need EMG bio-feedback*****


Catani, Marco. “A Little Man of Some Importance.” Brain, vol. 140, no. 11, 2017, pp. 3055–3061.,