What Muscles Does Running Work? Find Your Answer Here

Running has been and still is a popular exercise around the globe. Very many people run to keep fit, others to feel good while others do it as a profession. Whether you do it for fun or as a profession, you need to understand that running works more than just your legs. Oh yes, if there is one exercise that works multiple muscles at the same time is running. It provides an excellent cardiovascular and full body workout that is both fun and interesting. So mainly, what muscles does running work? Please read on to find out.


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As part of the Legs, the quadriceps is among the largest and most frequently used muscles in our body. They are located between your knees and your pelvis, and you use them when you walk when you stoop down, or even when you are only standing still.

During running, the lower part of your legs moves forward thus straightening your knees. Therefore the effect felt on your quads when you stretch your leg forward extending the knee in the process helps to work and build this particular muscle group.

Hip Fexors

The hip flexors are muscles that join the upper thighs and your lower back. As the name implies, they flex the hip. The hip flexors are a group of muscles that work together to move your legs. They are hard to injure, but they can be tight from sitting at a desk all day.

Hip flexor exercises can help improve flexibility and give you better posture. Since the hip flexors affect the way that you hold your pelvis, tight or weak hip flexors can produce bad posture. Running exercises, therefore, helps to enhance the strength and flexibility of this muscle region of your body.

How does running work the hip flexors? When you run, your thighs tend to move towards your belly which happens after your foot is off the ground. This motion, in particular, is what works the hip flexor muscles and also targets your glutei region.

Calf Muscles

Among all body muscles, the calves are one of the toughest muscles to work and build. These muscles are tough because they experience a limited range of motion that they can go through and thus makes it difficult to target them during workouts.

The calf muscles are a problem for many people mostly because when building up muscles, the rest of the body adjusts except the claves. In other cases, people with small legs find it to be a bigger issue as their calves don’t always look too proportionate with the rest of their body. This is primarily why working and building these muscles is of the essence.

When you run, your feet will point downwards when lifted, this motion known as the plantar motion helps to define the calf muscles while also challenging them at the same time. Unlike other exercises, running won’t make your calves larger. Instead, it contributes to defining them to suit the rest of your body better.

Of importance is to know that for you to work your calves better, you need to also run in steep terrains especially uphill.

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The hamstrings are a very powerful muscle of the body. Located on the back of the legs and running from the glutes to the back of the knee, these muscles typically work together with your glutes and lower back muscles to enhance core stability.

In today's world, most working people spend the majority of their days sitting in front of a computer. This posture makes the posterior chain including the hamstrings to tighten. When this happens, the muscles shorten and can thus cause lower back problems and poor posture.

In other words, the hamstrings muscles are most affected when there is inactivity after sitting for long hours. But what can you do to prevent this? There is a lot you can do. Engage your body in stretching activities after work. You don’t need to go the gym to do this. Run a few laps around your block very morning and evening, and you will be just fine.

If you are wondering how running will work your hamstrings, here is how. First of all, the hamstrings are the ones that flex the knee during movement which makes the lower legs to move back to your behind. During running, the flexing action happens when your foot is lifted off the ground, and your legs start moving forward for the next stride.

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Gluteal Muscles

This popular muscle group consists of the Gluteus Maximus, Medius and Minimus and are located around the butt. The primary function of the gluteal muscles is to give power and strength to your legs

During running, the glutes get engaged in a hip extension movement which works your glutes when your thighs move from the ground and positions behind your body in a parallel motion. Like the hamstrings, you will mainly notice more contraction of your glutes when you run on a steep terrain. i.e. uphill or up the stairs.


If you are still wondering how all this is important, and then let me fill you in. When you know and understand the science of your workout routines, you will exercise more and better so as to maximize the benefits that you can get from them.Also, knowing the muscles that running works on your body will help you to determine the type of running activity that best suits your body and needs. Therefore, on the question of what muscles does running work, the more you know, the better you become at working and taking care of these muscles.

Good luck!

Kelly Joyner

Hi, I'm Kelly, I'm very glad you took a few minutes of your time to check out my blog. RegularityFitness is a blog about the best fitness exercises, weight loss methods, diet, muscle building. That will help you get a good shape and healthy.

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