The glutes are quite underrated. Your glutes are your biggest and most powerful muscles (they’re meant to be), they protect your lower back, they protect your hip joint and pelvis, they improve your squat, deadlift, vertical jump, sprinting speed, they ensure you don’t overload your hamstrings, and look damn good when they’re conditioned.
It’s common to have glutes that are almost totally asleep these days. When I initially test for glute function, the glutes typically lag well behind the action of the hamstrings and back muscles, causing overload in these other areas and shear forces across joints. If you’re glutes are super strong, it’s pretty difficult to injure your lower back and give yourself a hamstring strain.
Sleeping pills for the glutes include;
Pain, for example, back pain
Sitting.. and we do a lot of it
Not being active enough and when we are active, we adopt crappy movement patterns
Muscle imbalances and reciprocal inhibition. Reciprocal inhibition means that if a muscle is chronically tight it will inhibit it’s opposite (antagonist) muscle. An example would be tight hip flexors inhibiting the glutes (which extend the hip).
In exercises, the gluteal contribution increases as the movement moves into hip extension and especially into hip hyperextension. Know the difference between back hyperextension and hip hyperextension though.
Due to the multidirectional action of the gluteus maximus and roles as hip extensors, abductors, and external rotators, increasing the strength of the gluteus maximus can increase and improve the following actions specific to sports;
- power in bilateral and unilateral, vertical and horizontal jumping
• agility and quickness in changing direction from side to side
• rotational power in striking, and throwing
- thrusting power for mount escapes and submissions (martial arts).
• deceleration in rotational movements
• Squatting, deadlifting, lungeing, stepping, running, climbing.
GLUTE STRENGTH & CONDITIONING
BARBELL HIP THRUSTS
Position your back on a bench, roll a padded barbell back into your hip crease. Extend the hips up to about 10 degrees hip hyperextension, don’t hyperextend the lower back or anteriorly tilt your pelvis. You should feel this all in your glutes, not your lower back. Control the weight up rather than swinging a weight up that’s too heavy.
BARBELL GLUTE BRIDGE
Same as above yet position your back and feet on the ground and extend the weight up from the hips, making sure you are holding the barbell securely so that it doesn’t roll back onto your face.
For glute strength and strong hip extension. Hip extensions can be loaded using a barbell across the hip crease. Use barbell padding or a thick yoga mat between the bar and the hips to avoid excessive pressure. Aim for full hip extension, not lower back extension (no lower back arching). Your glutes and hamstrings should be working, not your lower back. #barbellhipbridge #hipbridge #hipthrust #strongglutes #glutes #glutestrengthening #gym #fit #fitness #sydneystrengthconditioning #strengthandconditioning
This exercise can also be done explosively. For explosive and speed work, choose a weight between 30-50% of that of your max lift and perform no more than 6-8 per set. I generally use 40% and aim for 5-6 reps with a focus on speed.
For powerful humping! Just kidding.. For glute strength and power. Hip extensions can be loaded using a barbell across the hip crease. Use barbell padding or a thick yoga mat between the bar and the hips to avoid excessive pressure. Aim for full hip extension, not lower back extension (no lower back arching). Your glutes and hamstrings should be working, not your lower back. Use around 30-50% of the weight you would use for a heavy (max) hip extension, eg. If you can hip bridge 100kg, then only use 40kg for explosive hip bridges. #hipbridge #hipthrust #barbellhipbridge #strongglutes #glutes #glutestrengthening #hipextension #power #explosivetraining #powertraining #strengthandconditioning #sydneystrengthconditioning #mixedmartialarts #mma #brazilianjiujitzu #bjj #mountescape #wrestling #movement
SINGLE LEG HIP THRUST
Perform with your back on a bench and the working leg on the floor, or with the working leg on another bench so that your glutes have to work through a greater range. Aim to keep the pelvis level and extend to about 10 degrees hyperextension, as above.
HEAVY REVERSE HYPEREXTENSIONS (as shown in the Lower Back post)
-Also do with bent legs for less hamstring contribution
-Also do single leg for muscle balance and bumping up the challenge factor
HIGH STEP UP
Really high steps, like above the knee. Go for power, raising your body up as fast as possible, tap the ground between each rep and lift yourself straight back up. If 10reps is easy, either make the step higher or hold weight (dumbell, weight vest).
LOW BOX SQUAT
By sitting back, not just down, the squatting muscles are stretched maximally. Lower, relax and then contract dynamically, forcefully pushing your hips forward and flexing your butt to stand up again.
With box squatting, your shins can go past the point of being perpendicular to the floor, which places all the stress on the major squatting muscles – hips, glutes, lower back, hamstrings.
SINGLE LEG CABLE SQUAT
Based on the same principles as above, by keeping the shin vertical or even behind vertical, more demand is placed on the glutes and hamstrings, rather than the quads.
BENT LEG PULL THROUGHS
These can be done with straight legs and allow your spine to round out with each rep (demands more lower back work), or with your knees bent and your back kept in neutral (demands more glute work). Face away from the cable machine (or power band attached to something secure) with the cable (or band) held between your legs. Bend your knees and allow your back to slant forward, then use your glutes and hamstrings to thrust your hips forward.
BENT LEG 45 DEGREE HYPEREXTENSIONS.
Taking up slack in the hamstrings by bending the knees reduces their contribution so you have more glute action. Hinge at the hip rather than flexing the lower back.
BENT LEG BACK EXTENSION
Same as above but positioning your torso parallel to the floor rather than at 45 degrees.
QUADRIPED HIP EXTENSION
Get on all fours on the ground, place your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Keep a natural lumbar curve and hold your head in line with your spine. Extend one leg behind you so your thigh is parallel to the floor and your knee is flexed 90 degrees. Get a training partner to provide resistance to the back of the elevated thigh and raise your thigh against it for reps.
That’s a start to get you going. Mix up exercises, reps, sets, perform bodyweight or add weight and don’t just stick to your favourites.
Get a plethora of glute exercises online.