Gluteal Muscles Workout
The gluteal or buttocks muscles are a muscle group that can be neglected during daily life because we spend so much time sitting these days. This sometimes means that when we do go to complete a workout, the gluteal muscles are a bit lazy at first. The glutes are a super important group both during standing and keeping balanced and have also been referred to as the “engine of the athlete.” An enormous amount of power can come from the gluteal muscles during running and jumping (e.g. did anyone see Simone Biles’ phenomenal height reached during her tumbling passes?!). So, since gluteal muscles sometimes get lazy, try adding a few of these activation exercises in as warm-up before a run or before bigger lifts or jumping drills to get the most out of your engine.
1. Glute Bridge/Hip Thrust: basic, safe to learn and a physio favourite. Start by laying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Before you thrust your hips to the ceiling, create tension in your torso by activating your abdominal muscles, then push through your heels to bring hips towars the ceiling. For an added challenge, try doing this with one leg up at a time. By using single leg, you’ll notice how much you shift from side to side or how one hip tends to drop. Work on trying to keep hips even, stable and centred.
2. Hip Hinge: an excellent precursor to the deadlift. Knowing the technical aspects of the hip hinge can help you in so many ways. Start standing in a neutral position, focusing on good posture. You can hold a broom stick or dowel along your spine as an external cue. Make sure the stick is always connected to the back of your head, your upper back and your sacrum (the lowest part of your spine that sits between your hip bones or pelvis). Create tension by activating your abdominal muscles. As you bend forward, stick your butt out and lower your chest, thinking about keeping that neutral spinal alignment. As you return to standing, dig your heels into the ground and squeeze your buttocks to thrust hips forward.
3. Clamshell: another physio favourite. Clamshells end up in a lot of physio programs; they’re simple and effective. For less challenge, first try it without any resistance. As you improve, add a theraband tied just above your knees, or add a side plank to your clamshell for a superset. When performing your clamshell, make sure your hips stay stacked on top of each other (do not roll backwards! – this is the most common way to cheat the clamshell).
4. One-legged squats: This is a challenging exercise, but is also one that is very difficult to cheat. Watch yourself in the mirror to see if one of your hips drops lower than the other – this is what we’re trying to avoid! When you first start, rest your fingertips on a wall or table to help you keep your balance. Don’t worry about depth at first! Just try to focus on mini squats with good technique. As you get better, then think about doing a deeper squat.
5. Glute and Hamstrings Slides: this is similar to the glute bridge but adds another component. Set yourself as you would for your glute bridge, but place a towel under your heels between your feet and your ground. Activate your abdominals, thrust your hips to the ceiling and slide your feet out very slowly. As you slide, keep pushing your hips to the ceiling.
This is just a small sampling of glute exercises to try. If you’re interested in learning more, please come see us at the clinic and our brilliant clinicans can put together a personalized program for you!
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