Best glute activation work
Almost daily I have to do some form of glute activation or glute work with clients as from what I can see we have been spending too much time sitting in chairs, tilting the pelvis forwards, total lack of core stability and allowing the glutes to basically go asleep. All this can combine to keep asking your lower back to be more mobile rather than what it should be doing which is being stable. This article focuses on the glutes and their importance to your training.
What do the Glutes do apart from bringing all the boys to the yard?
The Gluteal muscles are a group of 3 muscles which make up our buttocks.
- gluteus maximus – moves our leg backwards, sideways and helps rotate it out
- gluteus medius – moves our leg sideways (contributes to rotation)
- gluteus minimus – helps move our leg sideways and helps rotate it in
- The above movements are very important, but where the glutes really shine are in providing dynamic stabilization of our pelvis and hip which allows for improved function and efficiency of movement. What this translates to is that you basically move more efficiently and reduce your risk of injury. One of the most common issues I see daily is knee pain due to the lack of stability that should be provided by the glutes. The client typically will have really tight lateral quads and IT band (runs down the side of your leg) which have been excessivly over worked due to the glutes not doing their job. For example, I had a client in during the week and when I got her to perform a single leg squat and single leg deadlift (I could have picked any number of assessment exercises or positions here) I then videoed what she was doing so she could see what was happening. As she squatted down or did the deadlift the knee on her right leg was continuously falling inwards. We did check she was in the right position with her core before hand so this was not such a massive contributing factor. This was what was happening when she was in a controlled situation so can you imagine what was happining hundreds of times over and over again when she was running!
You can very easily see this for yourself if you try a single leg deadlift or a single leg squat (ideally in front of a mirror) so you can check even after a few tries if your knee on either leg keeps wanting to dive inwards.
To correct this you have to wake up those glutes through various exercises such as -
Cook Hip lift – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zni_6hzqkEE&feature=related
X band walks (shown at 1.40mins) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPGSjUQIvT0
Three way glute exercise – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZNOFLhwdMk
Lying side clam – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6T1aDFM8Cc&feature=related
Single leg deadlifts, single leg squats, sprinting, split squats, lunge with a reach etc can all be used also but I would suggest you do some form of glute work at the start of all workouts just to switch them on so they are ready to work for you after being put to sleep from when you were sitting all day!
All this being said if you do all of the above but have glutes that are tighter than a bag of guitar strings then none of this is going to be very effective so make sure that you foam roll the glutes with a ball to break down any adhesions that are stopping the glutes from firing properly.
Then get in there and stretch them and most of the lower body for that matter. K star covers it really really well in this video. If you are new to this then this video could be the best 6mins you spend on sorting out some basic lower body issues you might have (just do the stretches and you will see!)
So keep working the glutes and get more proactive on taking care of basic fundamental movement patterns before problems show up. You have the tools so go use them and deliver a perfect butt.