Achieving properly activated glutes shouldn’t only be an aesthetic goal but for your overall health as well.
Strong glutes can drastically improve larger lifts such as deadlifts, squats and bridges as well as increase power for jumping. They can prevent bad posture and other muscles in the body from being overactive.
Moreover, if you properly activate your glutes you can improve a golfer’s swing or pick up a box off of the ground without hurting your back.
There are many causes for inactive glutes. Over the years people have become more sedentary; most people are sitting for longer than is recommended, working desk jobs for several hours a day every week or watching too much TV.
This excessive sitting lengthens the muscles along the posterior chain (the back of the body). When these muscles become loose or lax so does the ability to maintain good posture.
This can lead to low back or neck pain and/or sciatica pain. The latter is caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve – the longest nerve in the body, stretching from the pelvis right down to the feet. Weak glutes can also set people up for possible injuries in the gym or on the field.
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Proper glute activation is being able to consciously “turn on” or “fire” the glute muscles.
Even though one might perform squats and bridges during a leg or glute training day, it doesn’t mean that the glute muscles are activating properly. This will inevitably place stress and tension on surrounding muscles such as those in the legs and lower back.
In order to correct inactive or weak glutes, glute activation exercises need to be implemented.
The goal with all glute activation exercises is to correctly “fire” the glute muscles during all lower body exercises.
This will allow the muscles to become stronger and then act as a support system for the core and legs. Utilize a band to optimize strengthening the glutes and re-firing the muscles.
Below are some key exercises that can help strengthen and re-activate the glute muscles:
Lateral band walks
Banded glute bridges
Single leg banded glute bridge
Once proper glute activating exercises are implemented, strength, power, and glute growth can improve drastically.
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