The biggest factor affecting anybody’s hips these days is sitting. We were not designed to sit in a chair and we certainly were not designed to stay there for long periods of time. Keeping your hip at 90 degrees and sitting on your butt holds the glutes in a lengthened position, this will cause them to find it harder to activate and over time can make them harder to recruit. This position also allows your hip flexors, the muscles in the front of your hips, to shorten.
Muscles work in pairs, so if your hip flexors are short and overactive they will also encourage your glutes to turn off. This is just one example of something that we do all the time that will have a direct impact on how well we recruit our glute muscles. If we do not spend enough time warming up prior to exercise and activation our glutes on purpose to overcome these effects then it will directly affect running technique.
In runners the glutes are important in controlling the forces that go through your lower limb as it hits the ground. They play a big part in absorbing the impact from the floor and regenerating it into the next step
Running in particular does not actually do much to improve the glute function. Yet we know they are useful muscles in making you a more efficient runner. Run training typically just involves running, and many runners are guilty of not doing any conditioning outside of this. Running in straight lines will not greatly challenge the glutes or help them improve. To activate and strengthen glute muscles the best exercises revolve around twisting movements and moving sideways – this is because this creates a high demand on the right muscles.