How do I engage my glutes???
Have you ever worked out and wanted to feel soreness in the glutes but you felt it in the back, quads, or hamstrings? Don't worry, you're not alone. There may be several reasons you are unable to activate the glutes. You may have a sedentary job and are seated during the day, shutting those glutes off, making your quest for glute activation even more difficult. You may be a long distance runner and have developed powerful quads and hamstrings but the glutes are nowhere to be found. Fear not, those glutes are in there we just have to train them to engage.
The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body. We all have them and we all need them to walk, jump, run and perform just about every weight bearing exercise out there. The gluteus maximus is a powerful hip extensor and external rotator of the hip. It also helps keep us upright when doing any single leg activity. If it's improving sport performance you're after then the glutes aren't a bad place to start. Football players need them to explode off of the line of scrimmage. Basketball players need them in triple threat position or for jumping to snag a rebound. Golfers need the glutes for powerful rotation and slight hip extension during the down swing to crush a golf ball.
Okay, okay, you get the point, they're important. So how do we activate the glutes? It may take starting with the basics for most folks. First try to see if you can activate your glutes laying down on your back. While laying down try and squeeze your glutes and hold it for 10 seconds. Pretend there's an apple between your cheeks and you're trying to crush it. Now take your hand and poke the side of your glute. You should feel the muscle firing. These are called glute sets.
If you mastered those, then it 's time to progress. You can move into a bridge position and squeeze that same imaginary apple and then lift your hips off the floor. If those are easy then you can mix it up by extending one leg in a bridge position focusing on the glutes.
Ok you're now a pro at kicking in the glutes while laying on your back and you're ready for some standing glute activation. You can start by trying some squeezes in standing to re-engage those glutes and then try your hand at some mini squats or step ups. When you come up from a mini squat or step up on to a step, make sure to again poke the glute and actually feel it engage.
When you're ready, dive into those squats, jumps and lunges with that proper glute activation you are looking for. If you're dealing with pain and you need more guidance with any of these exercises don't hesitate to call or email. I can help fix your underlying issue and get you back to the activities you love.