Glute Muscle Workout Complex
In terms of muscle tissue, the glutes are the largest muscle group in the body. So why do so many athletes and regular lifters have really weak glutes?
The Major Problems:
1. Few people do direct glute training. Even though the glutes are activated should be activated in exercises like dead lifts and proper squats, most people would rather do direct arm training (small muscle groups) than direct glute training (large muscle group).
2. When the glutes start to weaken, compensation will occur. Athletes will start using their hamstrings and low backs instead of activating their glutes. So even when someone thinks they are training the glutes, they could be using surrounding muscle groups instead.
3. Most people do not have a large selection of glute exercises so they just ignore it.
4. Can’t see it in a mirror, so why train it??
Okay, I might be kidding with that last problem (hopefully).
Why Should You Care?
1. Correcting imbalances in the posterior chain can help prevent/alleviate back pain.
2. Glute weakness has been associated with knee pain (over compensation in the hamstrings).
3. Training large muscle groups can increase testosterone. Testosterone helps build muscle. Glutes are the largest muscle group…therefore train it! (felt like I was doing a math logic problem right there).
4. Everyone chases “explosive hips” for athletes through jumping, oly lifts, etc. Glutes play a large role in explosion and achieving triple extension. So if you want to train a muscle group to jump higher and be more explosive, look behind you!
How to Test For Weaknesses
Earlier in the year, I gave you an easy solution. Lay on your stomach, squeeze your legs together, bend one leg up (shortening the hamstring), and push against someone’s manual resistance towards the ceiling. KEEP THE LEGS TOGETHER. If it is hard to keep your legs together, you are compensating with other muscle groups. If you cannot push up with much force then your glutes are weak.
Here’s that video again for you to check out:
4 Effective Glute Exercises
1. Side-lying hip abduction. This seems like something out of a Jane Fonda workout video, but it is extremely effective. Either lay on your side or set up in a side plank. Lift your top foot towards the ceiling and return back down under control.
Here’s the key to this exercise: lead with your heel. Do not go toe first of you will be using your hip flexor more than your glutes.
2. Side leg hip thrusts. Setup in a sit up position. Straighten out one leg into the air. Push through the heel of your down leg and actively squeeze your glutes together. Do not let your hips tilt to either side.
Exercise Key: Do not swing the leg that is in the air to use momentum.
3. Single Leg Airplanes/supermans. Lay on your stomach and push your hips firmly against the ground. Keep your legs close to each other, pull your toes in, and lift one leg and the opposite arm into the air.
Exercise Key: Do not let your leg drift out as you lift it up. This is the sign of a tight IT band.
4. Squat Walks: Get in an athletic stance and step out to the right, then to the left. These are similar to X walks without the band. I love a good X walk, but a lot of people do not have the bands – this bodyweight variation will do just fine.
Glute Training Accessory Complex
I received this glute protocol from a physical therapist and friend Tom Janik. This series is mostly bodyweight and used by the pros to address glute weakness. Of course I had to “synergy” it and add a few twists 🙂
A. Perform each exercises in a row.
1. Side-lying Hip Abduction x 15 (right leg)
2. Single Leg Hip Thrusts x 15 (right leg)
3. Airplanes (supermans) x 15 (right leg, left arm)
Repeat immediately on the left side then rest. Repeat for a total of 3 sets each side.
B. Perform a half squat (slightly lower than a defensive slide in basketball). Perform side steps for 15 steps to the right and 15 steps back to the right. Keep going back and forth until failure. 1 set.*
*Keep your toes pointing forward. If you turn them out, it is another indicator of using other muscle groups to compensate.
Add these exercises at the end of a lower body workout OR in the evening before you go to bed (no equipment required and only takes about 10-12 minutes)! I covered accessory training first for an important reason. If I started by saying “go deadlift” then what if the lifter still uses their hamstring and low back? It would only further the issue.
– Joe Hashey, CSCS –
PS. Most people do not identify glute weaknesses until it is too late and they are hurt. Be proactive and start now!
PPS. I’d love to hear your favorite glute exercises
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