Your glutes are by far the largest group of muscles in your body. They are also quite important, especially because they consist of muscles that work in tandem to rotate, abduct, and extend your hip thus making them very critical to movement. By firming up these muscles, your athletic performance, overall strength, and posture will considerably improve.
Because most of us sit at a desk all day hunched over a computer screen, our glutes are inactive and probably not firing properly when we move and workout. This could lead to lower back pain, hip pain, and even knee and ankle pain. You might not be able to lift as much or run as fast as you would like. Also, aesthetically speaking, if you are working your legs but your glutes aren’t looking perkier, it may be because they aren’t actually activated during the exercises.
While there are numerous reasons as to why an individual might have weakened glute muscles, one main cause is that most people are living sedentary lifestyles. Very many jobs, nowadays, require people to sit down for long hours or, after working all day, we rush home and relax on the couch: this only leads to the glute muscles becoming dormant more than they are supposed to be. Moreover, you might have weak glutes since you over-rely on other body muscles to move. Whichever the case, the number of people with weak glutes is significantly increasing by the day.
For most people, their glutes remain often inactive. Switched off glutes mean that the muscles in question are frail, and they cannot successfully carry out their mandate. Glute activation, therefore, refers to the act of firing up the concerned muscles in an effort to make them stronger. Therefore, you need to make sure that you are doing Glute Activation Exercises before your workout routine. Having strong glutes is key to being pain-free and getting great results from your workouts.
Advantages of Strong Glutes
1. Better posture
With many of us spending so much time glued to a chair, we constantly are exposed to the dangers of contracting the sitting disease; it is really a disorder since too much sitting can lead to muscle degradation, organ damage, and damaged backs. By ensuring that your glute muscles are strong, your pelvis will begin to stabilize and your spine will have better support. Both of these advantages are essential to achieving a better posture.
2. Reduced Chance of Getting Injured
Apart from assisting in your general athletic performance, strong glutes are essential in reducing your chances of getting injured. Having strengthened glute muscles will prevent injuries to your knees, hamstrings, and lower back: all of these are vital to daily activities. Moreover, weakened glute muscles can cause improper back alignment which will lead to serious injuries such as tears and sprains in your back muscles.
3. Better Athletic Performance
Believe it or not, your rear-end can actually generate an unbelievable amount of power. Strong glutes ensure that you have improved acceleration, speed, and power. Simply put, athletes with strengthened glutes are faster and stronger than those with weakened glutes.
Glute Activation is about more than doing a bazillions squats and lunges during your workouts. Activating your glutes means first loosening up tight muscles from sitting all day at a desk and then getting them activated BEFORE you move on to the big lifts like squats and lunges. Your glutes may not be activated or firing when you do the big leg lifts. And when your glutes don’t fire, you compensate and use other muscles like your lower back, hamstrings, and quads. Compensating and using the incorrect muscles when you lift leads to injury and decreased performance. Plus, you aren’t working the largest muscle group in your body (a.k.a. your glutes), which means fewer calories burned during and after your workout!
Start on your hands and knees. Place your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Flex your feet. Then with your knee bent to 90 degrees, raise one leg out to the side. Lift with your hip and keep your lower leg in line as you lift. Don’t let your foot or knee get higher up toward the ceiling. Keep your arms straight as you lift as high as possible. Do not lean away and really squeeze your glutes as you lift. Lower your leg down and repeat on the same side.
Start on your hands and knees. Keeping your feet flexed, kick one leg back with the knee bent close to 90 degrees. Don’t let your lower back arch as you drive your heel up and back just so that you can kick up higher. Make sure you are squeezing your glute at the top of the kick and keep your abs engaged. The foot should be driving straight up toward the ceiling. Do not let your elbows bend just to kick back higher. Bring the knee back down and repeat on the same side.
Lie on your back and bend your knees to place your feet down on the ground about hip width apart. You should be able to touch your heels with your fingertips when you reach your arms down by your side. Play around with the position of your feet so that you feel your glutes working. Bring your elbows to 90 degrees so your upper arms are on the ground. Push up your upper arms and back and heels to bridge up off the ground. Make sure your knees do not fall apart or cave in as you lift. Actively squeeze your glutes as you drive your hips up. Make sure to bridge straight up and not push yourself backward. You want to feel like you are driving your knees forward over your toes even though you are driving through your heels. Make sure to extend your hips and do not hyperextend your lower back just to bridge up higher. Lower yourself down and repeat.
Start on your hands and knees like with the Fire Hydrant. Flex your feet. You will then kick one leg back like with the Donkey Kick. Hold here for a second. Make sure to keep your arms straight and squeeze your glutes. Then, without lowering the leg day, bring the leg up to the side into the Fire Hydrant position. Keep your foot flexed and knee bent to 90 degrees. Without touching the knee down, drive the knee forward towards your elbow. Feel your abs engage as you hold. Lower yourself back down and repeat on the same side starting with the Donkey Kick.
Start on your hands and knees like with the Fire Hydrant. Then reach your right arm out in front of you as you kick your left leg back behind you. Reach your arm and leg as if trying to touch the wall in front and behind you. As you kick your leg straight back, keep your foot flexed and squeeze your glute. Do not worry about lifting your leg above parallel to the ground. Do not engage your lower back and keep your core tight. After holding for a second at the top of the move, tuck your knee and elbow under your body and touch the two together. Extend back out reaching towards each wall. Keep your core engaged and squeeze your glute at the top. Repeat on the same side.
For any Advice and concerns on glute activation and how it effects your training or daily activities, please call or email us at The Rehab Room.
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