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Glute Training

October 20, 2010

By Gerard Bochese

Besides having a nice looking posterior, training your glutes is essential for avoiding injury and improving lower body function.  In this blog, we will discuss exercises to “wake up” your glutes.  In our chair-driven society we spend a lot of time in the seated position.  As a result, our glutes get neurologically shut off.  This lack of glute activation may be the root of many of our evils.

The inability to activate the gluteus maximus (the large butt muscle

that helps with hip extension such as squats and lunges) and the gluteus medius (the butt muscle that is more on the outside of the leg and helps us with hip abduction and external rotation) stands out as the root cause of at least four major injury syndromes:

1)   Low back pain relates to poor glute max activation because of excessive lumbar compensation.

2)    Hamstring strains relate strongly to poor glute max activation because the hamstring begins to do the job of the glutes.

3)    Anterior hip pain relates strongly to poor glute activation.

4)    Anterior knee pain relates strongly to poor glute medius strength or activation.

It’s important to perform glute activation at the beginning of every workout to develop better conscious awareness of the function of the glutes and to hopefully “wake them up” so that they will be greater contributors to the workout.

These pre-workout exercises can be considered a form of core training.

1)   Glute bridges – lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet positioned with your heels on the ground and toes up.  Drive through the heels, squeezing your butt, and lift your butt off the ground, creating a straight line between your hip and knees.  You can either pause momentarily at the top or hold for a 5 second count.  Do 15 reps.

2)    Quadruped – while in an all fours position on your hands and knees, extend your right arm and left leg simultaneously without any movement or leaning in your torso.  This exercise teaches the you to stabilize your torso with the deep abdominals and multifidus muscles (small muscles surrounding the spine) while recruiting the glutes to extend the hips.

3)    Straight leg mini band walks are great for hitting the glute medius – wrap a resistance ankle band around your ankles.  Begin the exercise by stepping laterally, leading with the right foot.  The legs should remain straight and you should try to lead slightly with the heel and not allow the toe to open up.  Repeat on the left side.

These exercises done at the beginning of your workout should take no more than 5 minutes and will greatly help you activate your glutes during the workout and when you are engaged in more demanding strength exercises such as squats, lunges, and dead lifts.  Furthermore, the can be critical to injury prevention.

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