Alright, let’s talk about this obsession everyone seems to be having about getting that “Big Ol’ Booty!” I’ve got to be honest and say, I’m not devastated that our society has seemed to move away from the “huge breasts” obsession that has ruled since…who knows how long now. Now, I’m not encouraging an obsession about any particular body part, however I don’t necessarily mind the encouragement of building some fabulous glutes.
Let me explain…
Glutes are insanely important for a healthy and biomechanically sound body. They are the strongest and largest hip extensor you have. So having your glutes in proper working order is HUGE for your overall health.
Here are just a few benefits to having strong and healthy glutes…
- Hip joints are properly stabilized
- Improved hip mobility
- Strong hip extension and retraction
- Reduction in back stress, especially lumbar related
- Proper knee traction for decreased injury and healthy long term movement
- Proper movement through your knees into your feet
- Decreased hamstring injury risk
Hopefully this long list is enough to paint the picture that glutes are not only aesthetically pleasing, they are crucial to the overall health of your body! A massive population of Americans have joint related injuries and conditions. While there are many reasons that could cause this, having weak glutes doesn’t help the cause. In fact, over time your joints become even more broken down because they don’t have what they need from your surrounding muscle tissue to support them.
I’m sure you get the picture by now! However, I want to switch focus and blast some myths that may be swirling around in your head right now.
YOUR GLUTES ARE NATURALLY LAZY!
They don’t want to work hard for you! Your body will recruit every other muscle to complete an exercise! This is especially true for women, unfortunately. Glutes are typically the last muscle to join the party when working out. You have to be tricky to get these guys rocking and rolling for you.
- Just because you SQUAT, does not mean you are working you glutes! The unfortunate reality of people in general, is that most do not know how to squat with proper form or get lazy with their reps and rely more on their hamstrings and quads to get through the movement. Even if you squat with proper form, your glutes may not be carrying the load for your body! Isn’t that frustrating!?
- Many individuals do not even have the capability of squatting correctly because they have improper biomechanics and/or alignment. If you feel this is you, I HIGHLY recommend corrective exercises in order to fix that issue. Without correcting those movements, you will be continuing to train your body improperly, leading to injury and incorrect alignment throughout your joints.
- Many of my readers know me well enough to have heard this phrase exit my mouth on several occasions… “Weight on your heels and hit 90 degrees with your knees.” If your knees come past your toes or your heels do not bear the weight of your squat, you are training your QUADS! Your glutes are still tucked into bed, lazy as heck and dreaming about who knows what. Why do people do this? Because glutes are lazy and without focusing on every single rep, you may as well give up on squats and hit quads with a leg extension. Sad but true.
- Just because you “lift heavy” doesn’t mean you are getting maximum gluteal engagement. Sucks right? I know. Without properly waking up those “sleepy glutes”, your body will once again rely on other muscle groups to get through the movement. Glutes are functional! This means that you need them to perform at their best so you can move correctly in every day life. So until you know how to properly activate and wake those guys up, focus on form and lighten the load so you can get it right!
I hope you are saying to yourself something like…. “Kelsey, what the heck am I supposed to do then?” Don’t worry! I wouldn’t present you with a problem without having the answer for you! TWO WORDS!
This is one of my very favorite things in the world of fitness! Again, without proper “muscle firing” or “activation”, you could be wasting your time on leg/glute day. That’s bad news! I hate wasting time! I am going to share with you my glute activation routine, aka WAKE UP LAZY GLUTES! This is a quick 10-15 minute warm up to get your glutes screaming at you and ready to lift any load you throw at them when moving through your weight training program. They will have no choice but to stay engaged throughout your workout. You WILL feel and see the difference, I promise!
You need just one piece of equipment for this! HIP CIRCLES! Hip circles are basically highly durable resistance bands that create a lot of tension when used properly. Let me tell you right now, not all hip circles are created equal, trust me. So of course, I set out to find the right ones that I could stand behind and talk about happily!
First of all, I like the idea of different levels of resistance when it comes to my legs and glutes, so one band was not going to work for me. My current favorites, I got on Amazon! (If you know me at all, you would know I have an Amazon problem. I don’t have time to shop in REAL stores, not a thing.) These Hip Circles are created by Victorem and come in a package of THREE for $34.99! I was pumped! Anyway, I opened them up and put them to the test! You will have one band that is a heavy resistance, one medium resistance and one light resistance. Check them out here…Victorem Hip Circles – Set of 3
Here we go! Do this at home or bring them with you to the gym! EASY!
MY GLUTE WAKE UP ROUTINE!
HIGH Resistance Band: Hip Circle Forward Walk
With band just above your knees, keep legs fairly straight as you walk forward taking slow and big steps with each leg. Be sure you are creating enough resistance to make this difficult. Take 20 total steps forward, then 20 total steps backward.
HIGH Resistance Band: Hip Circle Side Shuffle
With band just above your knees, face to the side and take small yet slow steps in one direction. Make sure you are maintaining solid resistance with the band. Take 20 total steps to the right, then 20 total steps to the left.
MEDIUM Resistance Band: Hip Circle Hip Thrusts/Bridges
With band just above your knees, lay down on your back with your feet close to your heels and knees to the ceiling, hands by your hips with palms facing down. Spread your knees just enough to feel some good resistance with the bands. Concentrate on keeping your knees out and the resistance high as you elevate your hips off the ground slowly, pause at the height of the movement, squeeze your glutes before returning back to the floor. Complete 15 reps.
MEDIUM Resistance Band: Hip Circle Clam Shells
With band just above your knees, lay on your side and bring your knees to a 90 degree angle closer to your chest, heels towards your glutes. Keep one leg firmly planted on the floor as you open the other leg to the ceiling. Be slow and controlled in your movement to maintain solid resistance as you release leg back to find the other. Complete 15 reps on one side before flipping to the other side to finish.
LOW Resistance Band: Hip Circle Body Weight Squats
With band just above your knees and feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, push knees out as you squat down to 90 degrees, maintaining solid resistance with the bands (don’t let your knees break to the middle). Stand up and repeat for 15 reps.
REPEAT for complete 2-3 rounds! Your glutes should be on fire and fully activated!
Congratulations! They are ready to rock of the remainder of your workout!
To be honest, I do this glute activation routine at home three days per week. Reason? My medial glutes are weaker than they should be and I want to prevent hip injury and joint issues. It’s a quick 15 minutes and I’m done! Sometimes, I follow it up with a trip to the gym. Other times, it’s part of an active recovery day. Either way, I know I am doing something good for myself and I encourage you to do the same!
Let me know if you have questions! I am here 🙂