Wondering what is glute activation and why is it so important?
Your glutes are the biggest muscle in your body and they have a play a few important roles. Proper movement of the hip comes from the glutes. Your glutes are responsible for hip extension, hip abduction and internal and external rotation of the hip joint.
Unfortunately in today’s sitting culture, weak glutes that have lost their ability to fire correctly have become a widespread problem. Most of us spend way too much time sitting down, while working, driving or watching TV on your sofa. As a side effect of this sitting, it’s very common to develop tight hip flexors and glutes that don’t fire correctly or at all, low back pain, hamstring injuries, knee pain and more.
Glute activation exercises specifically target the muscles that make up the glute and both strengthen them and train them to fire correctly.
How to implement glute activation into your routine? Easy! You can do it at home or at the gym. All you need is a mini band and about 10 minutes. Do these exercises 3-4 times a week on their own or add them into your workout routine.
For runners, we can’t stress the importance of adding some of these to your pre-run routine. Especially before you go out for a run after you’ve been sitting all day long! Here are five Minibands exercises for your glute activation including photo and discription of each.
STARTPOSITIONPlace one powerband MINI above your knees and one around your ankles and lower yourself down halfway into a squat position. Keep your knees behind your toes. Pull the band slightly apart so your knees are in one line with your feet. Your toes are facing forward.
PERFORMING EXERCISETake small steps to the side pushing off with your rear food. Keep your hip low and your upper body straight. Make sure your keep pushing the band apart with your knees whilst taking the step. Do not let your knees rotate inwards. Take the same number of steps in each direction.
COACHING KEYKeep your toes facing forward and your back straight throughout the exercise. Do this for 45 seconds or 20 steps total (each two-step in a direction counts as one)
STARTPOSITIONPlace a powerband MINI above your knees and take a hip- to shoulder-width stance. Your toes are pointing forward. Get the band under tension by pushing your knees out.
PERFORMING EXERCISEPut your weight on your heels and lower yourself down into a squat position. Keep your back straight and your core tight. Get back up by squeezing your glutes and pushing yourself up through your heels.
COACHING KEYKeep your knees behind your toes. Move your hip backward as if you were sitting down on a chair. Keep your upper body upright, your core tight and your back straight. Permanently push your knees out to keep the band under tension and avoid your knees rotating inwards.
STARTPOSITIONPlace one powerband MINI above your knees and one above your ankles. Take a wide stance and get into a squat position, lowered down halfway. Your weight is on your heels and your toes are facing forward. Push your knees out against the resistance of the band and keep them in one line with your feet.
PERFORMING EXERCISETake small steps forward, one foot after the other, keeping your legs wide apart. Always keep your foot, knee and hip in a straight line. Push your knees out against the resistance of the band. Keep your back straight.
COACHING KEYKeep your feet facing straight forward. Do not let your knees be pulled inwards by the band but keep pushing them out.
STARTPOSITIONPlace a powerband MINI above your knees and lie down on your back. Bend your knees and put your feet on the floor with your toes facing up towards the ceiling. Your arms are lying down by your sides with your palms facing up.
PERFORMING EXERCISETense your core and glutes and press your lower back onto the floor by tilting your pelvis. Now lift off your hips and move them up towards the ceiling as high as possible. Briefly hold this position and tense your glutes. Lower your hips down again until your glutes are about to touch the floor, then push back up.
COACHING KEYKeep the tension in your glutes during the entire exercise. Only move your hips as high as you can without making an arch in your lower back - keep your pelvis tilted forward.
STARTPOSITIONPlace a powerband MINI above your knees and lie on your side with your knees at a 90° angle. Your heels should be aligned with your spine. Your head is resting on your lower arm.
PERFORMING EXERCISETense your core and rotate your knee outwards by lifting it off towards the ceiling whilst keeping the contact with your heels. Pull the band as far apart as you can without rotating your hip. Then rotate your knee inwards again in a slow and controlled movement.
COACHING KEYMake sure you do not rotate your hip with your knee and avoid pulling the band with your back. Only pull the band with the force of your glutes.
When you squat, deadlift, use a leg press, lunge, or any other compound movement, you want to be using your quads, hamstrings, and glutes together. Every muscle has its role. However, if you’ve been sitting all day, and your glutes and hamstrings, which are your main hip extensors, aren’t working properly, chances are your quads will pick up the slack and handle most of the heavy load. By properly warming up your hip extension muscles before a leg day, they will do their job in compound movements. Your glutes will fire, you’ll be stronger, feel better, and have an easier time performing the movement properly, without the risk of injuries.
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