Stronger Glutes for Better Athletic Performance
Besides the obvious aesthetic benefits that come with performing glute activation drills and exercises, building a strong butt offers more to your athletic performance than you might think. While athletes will often perform compound movements in the gym like squats and deadlifts which provide stimulus in the glutes, activation and isolation exercises wake these muscles up and allow you to feel and perform even better.
“Feel and perform better” is such a broad term but it really does hold truth. Your glutes work with your abdominal wall to act as support mechanisms for the lumbar spine. Together, they provide structure and balance to the torso in order to perform optimally and alleviate any pressure that may be put on the spine.
It’s Not Just You, It’s Me
Everyone from corporate execs to MMA fighters will benefit immensely from training their glutes through consistent activation drills implemented into their workouts. It doesn’t mater what you do or how you want to perform, a strong support system in the glutes is crucial to optimal health and performance.
Corporate Executives – Sitting for most of the day with disengaged cores and inactive glutes. Commonly experience chronic lower back pain and upper/lower crossed syndrome.
MMA Fighters – Competing under multiple disciplines with high amounts of variability which require efficient reflexive patterns in various planes of movement. Lateral movement and power are generated from the ground up when performing punches, kicks, circling the opponent, or attempting a takedown. Force production generated for a punch is supported by efficient glute and hip involvement.
Football Players (European) – Constant change of speed and direction with variability of other players, ball handling, passing, and scoring.
Olympic Weightlifters – This almost definitely goes without saying. Pulling weight from the floor, catching it in a front rack or overhead position and stabilizing an immense amount of weight? You bet your ass you better have strong glutes – see what I did there? 😉
Runners and Sprinters – As you begin to accelerate into your sprint, your torso maintains upright stiffness while your arms and legs move at high speeds to propel you forward. One of the key components to maintaining optimal torso positioning and an upright posture are strong, active glutes.
As you can see, it doesn’t really matter who you are or what you do, a strong butt is going to make your life a hell of a lot better.
On paper, your glutes are involved in big lifts like squats, deadlifts, or cleans. But if you are performing these movements inefficiently, or have imbalances or weak/inactive muscles you aren’t aware of, you may not be activating your glutes efficiently! Next time you’re warming up, try incorporating some of the exercises shown below to activate your glutes so you can perform at your best and get stronger.
1. BANDED SINGLE LEG HIP BRIDGE W/ KICKOUT
Unilateral lower body exercises typically cause more stimulus in the glutes, whether they are from a supine or standing position. Banded tension produces more glute med (side muscle of the butt) activation and external force output.
2. FROG/GLUTE MEDIUS
Not only is this agreat activation for the glute med, it is an awesome stretch for the inner groin area and adductor muscles. Push your weight back and exhale into the stretch before shifting your weight forward and turning your leg in with your heel to the ceiling. You will feel the stretch in the inner legs initially and the side of the glutes when turning the heel up.
3. SIDE PLANK CLAMSHELL
You can perform this with or without a thera band around the knees for added abductor tension. Also, you can perform this exercise laying on your side, without being in a side plank position. This plank clamshell variation works the core stabilizers as well as hip rotation and glute med.
4. BANDED ABDUCTION
This one is seen a lot in gyms and can be a little overdone in my opinion, but it is still a great exercise for the glutes. To perform this optimally, have your toe slightly angled inward toward your body as you bring your leg up to keep the majority of the tension on the glute med and off of the IT band.
5. BANDED SIDE SHUFFLE
You can use a thera band or resistance band (shown above) for this shuffle variation. Keep your legs engaged throughout the movement by getting into a quarter squat position and creating a low ceiling effect by staying in that squat stance.
6. MONSTER WALK
“Spread the floor” is a cue to use for this movement as you never want to allow valgus collapse (knee caving inward) occur will warming up the glutes and adductors with side to side shuffles or monster walks. Take diagonal steps forward and back with about 75% pressure being on the lateral (outside) portion of the foot.
7. BANDED SINGLE LEG HIP BRIDGE WITH KNEE DRIVE
Great warm up tool for the glutes as well as the hip flexors. If you are a runner, this one is a great tool to add to your routine. Maintain dorsi flexion in the elevated foot and drive through the heel on the supportive leg as you bring your hips up to the ceiling and drive your knee to your chest.
8. QUADRUPED BANDED HIP EXTENSION
Another classic exercise you see constantly in the gym, and again, this one can be overused but there is definitely a time and place for it. Try to maintain a ‘flat’ lower back and avoid excessive hyper extension in the lumbar spine as to maintain emphasis on the glutes. You Can add an isometric contraction during full extension for added tension.
If you have any questions or comments about todays post, let me know down below!