Fun Fact: Glutes are the largest muscle group in the body. This article will show you how to activate your glutes. Most men tend to negate their glutes on leg day, but training this multi-layer muscle group can increase the effectiveness of your leg workouts! The glutes are fundamental in holding your body upright and facilitating your daily movements.
Most jobs in America require you to sit at a desk for most of your day— probably working in an office or cubicle. When you’re sitting, the glutes are inactive, and this is one of the main reasons why it’s so important to activate them before your next lower-body workout. Really, performing glute activation should be done frequently because most people tend to spend their days at a desk, sitting.
Where are the glute muscles?
“Glutes” is the nickname for the three gluteal muscles that make up the butt: the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and gluteus maximus. These muscles move your legs forwards, backward, and/or in rotation.
What is Glute Activation?
Glute activation is a set of warm-up exercises that you can do before the start of your leg workout to “switch on” the muscles you intend to utilize during your workout. Using your body weight or resistance bands is a common way to ignite the glute muscles.
Why is glute activation so important?
If you don’t activate your glutes before a leg workout, your glutes might not stimulate as well as they should — due to their prolonged dormancy for most of the day. When this occurs, your body might use an adjacent muscle to execute the movement. This isn’t always bad but over time, could lead to muscle imbalances and or injury.
Weak glutes can also contribute to poor posture, trouble with balance, and lower back pain. As we age, incorporating glute activation will be very auspicious for our overall health. Even for people who exercise regularly, glute activation is still an important factor in ones overall wellness! When most of our time is spent sitting in the car, at work, or at home — our glute muscles need to be activated, in order to work effectively.
How to Activate your Glutes?
There are a couple of ways to activate your glutes but some of the most influential movements are Clam Shells, Donkey Kicks, and Glute Bridges. These particular exercises can help isolate and activate the glute muscles for your workout.
Foam rolling the glutes and lower back before starting your leg workout can help to promote blood flow to the lower limbs and break up adhesions between muscle and fascia — caused by stress and or a build up of lactic acid / free radicals. Foam rolling the glutes prior to your workout can significantly optimize your training due to the increased ability to contract and relax the glute muscles through their normal range of motion.
How do I know if my glutes are activated?
A clear indicator to know that your glutes are activated is by being able to feel the glutes contracting. When you start performing gym-based glute exercises like squats, you may experience more tension in your quads, hamstrings, or lower back.
When your glutes are active, you should feel less tension on your quads, hamstrings, or lower back (The amount of weight being used will also be a factor). If you go through your leg workouts only feeling the tension in your hamstrings or quads, activating the glutes prior to your workout can help balance out muscle activation for a more optimal strength session.
Exercises to activate the glutes
Try these exercises to activate your glutes and get a more effective leg workout!
This exercise targets the gluteus medius, located at the side of the hip. This muscle helps to stabilize the hip and protect your knees from unnecessary strain.
This exercise targets the gluteus maximus. During this exercise, make sure your core is engaged and your back is stable. Your spine should be still.
This exercise can be used for dual purposes: activation or strength. Make sure as you lift, you’re squeezing your glute muscles to make them the primary recipients of the tension exerted to execute the movement.
For increased activation, utilize a resistance band by placing them around your thighs, above the knee, to target the gluteus. (Applies to most all glute activation exercises)
Our glutes play a significant role in holding us upright and in our ability to execute basic everyday movements. Performing glute activations prior to your leg workout, whether it’s a lower body workout or just going for a run — will be very beneficial to your overall wellness. Focus on technique during activating your glutes, rather than speed to ensure that the glutes are fully stimulated. Please share if you found any value in this article, and make sure to subscribe to my newsletter (BELOW) for tons of other free content.
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