Time To Fire Up Your Glutes
Strong well-rounded sets of glutes are both functionally and aesthetically very desirable. From a strength perspective there is a lot of carryover to better running mechanics, faster sprinting and an ability to jump higher, which all in one way or another can benefit sporting performance.
For the non-athlete strong glutes will mean you are less likely to suffer from back injuries as you are more structurally balanced. Lastly, from a purely aesthetic point of view most of us could do with a little more junk in the trunk.
I find a lot of personal training clients these days have real trouble when it comes to activating and contracting their glutes. Meaning all of the afore mentioned benefits are hard to come by. The main reason glute activation is such an issue these days is due to shortened / tight hip flexor muscles, which is commonly caused by sitting down all day every day.
The best way to fix this issue in my experience is to spend time stretching your hip flexors during your warm up and in between sets of hip extension exercises. To do this come down onto one knee with your other foot out in front of you. With your torso upright push your hips forward gently and contract and squeeze your glute on the same side to really extend your hip. Repeat this on both sides.
As well as stretching your hip flexor, you will also need to spend time doing some on specific glute activation drills in order to get them firing. I use these 6 exercises with clients on a regular basis until glutes are functioning properly.
- Side Lying Clam Drill
- Lateral Band Walks
- Glute Bridge
- Side Lying Leg Lifts
- Fire Hydrants
- Single Leg Hip Extension on All Fours
I will perform all of these exercises for 20-30 seconds with the sole concentration being on contracting the glute and feeling them firing. The exercises should be performed in sequence, one straight after the other (you may need to rest briefly in between exercises if this is new to you).
By the end of this routine your glutes should feel pumped up and ready for other more advanced exercises such as Squats, Lunges and Deadlifts and all of their variations. If not go through the routine again and keep practicing.
With some clients who have particularly poor glute function, this will make up the whole of their leg training in the first few weeks of personal training. Once we have everything working properly we can move on to more advanced exercises.
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