Get those glutes activated

Squats and deadlifts are great for building a tight, round behind, but all that effort could be for nothing if your glutes aren't activated. Use these 8 quick and simple glute activation exercises and see better results!

Why wake your glutes up before a gym session or running workout? If you want to make more of your training, it makes sense to ensure the relevant muscles are ready to work hard. And if you spend all day at a desk or in a vehicle, you definitely need to wake up your posterior before training it! Glute activation movements can help ease back pain, prevent more injuries and niggles, and help your athletic performance.

Glute bridges

Do glute bridges before any leg work, and add them to your workout routine as an exercise in their own right - they help build a great butt!

Lie on your back, with arms by your sides

Bring your feet back towards your bum, and have them hip-width

Press into your feet and raise your butt and back, rolling up through your spine, until you are resting on your feet, shoulders and arms/hands

Hold at the top and squeeze the glutes

Lower very slowly and with control

Side plank with leg lift

This will start to wake up the smaller glute muscles and the sides of your hips and quads.

Lie on your side, and place your forearm under your shoulder. Prop yourself up on your forearms

Your legs and feet should be stacked one on the other, and your hips straight (think about your hip bones pointing forward)

Engage your core and glutes as you lift the top leg up, keeping it very straight

Make sure your chest doesn't fall forward during the move

Lift and lower the leg 12 times, squeezing the glutes, then swap to the other side

Upwards plank

This move strengthens your glutes and stretches your hips, both of which will help you get more from your leg and glute workouts.

Sit on the ground with your legs out in front and your hands on the ground behind your butt, fingers facing forwards

Push up, driving into your hands and heels

Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips

Keep the body in a straight line, just like in a regular plank: chest high, hips high and open

Once your body is straight, hold the plank for a few seconds (longer if you can) before lowering slowly

Dog-leg

You'll see why this is named dog-leg once you get into position! This move encourages the small glute medius muscle to work harder, 

Get on all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Flex your feet

Raise one leg out to the side, but maintain the angles at the knee and ankle (keep the foot flexed)

As you raise one leg out to the side, keeping the knee at 90*, keep your arms straight and core engaged. Do not rock the hips or twist the body

Squeeze the glute on that side, and try to keep the knee and foot parallel to the ground (neither one should be higher than the other)

The glute is doing all the work - can you feel it?

Do 8-12 reps then repeat on the other side

Bird dog

The bird dog is a great move for the core, hips and glutes. Introduce it to every workout session!

Start on all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips

Flex your feet

Now take one leg straight back behind you (think about trying to touch the wall behind you with your sole)

At the same time, take the opposite arm straight out as if reaching for a wall in front

Try to keep your leg and arm parallel with the ground, don't lift them too high

Think about reaching and driving your foot and hand away from your body, and engage your core by squeezing your abs and glutes

Lower the arm and leg by bending them and bring them together underneath your body

If you can, touch knee to elbow

Extend them back out - this is one rep

Do 8-10 slow, controlled reps then switch sides

Donkey kicks

From dogs to donkeys, this single legged move will activate your glutes, hips, low back and core ready for a more effective workout.

Start in the same position as dog-leg, with feet flexed again

Keep the knee bent at 90* and the foot flexed, kick one leg up and think about pushing the sole of that foot to the ceiling

Don't let the hips or low back sag and keep the arms straight

Keep the knee bent and this will ensure all the work stays in the glutes as you squeeze and pulse

Hold each squeeze for a count of 3

Do 8-12 reps then repeat on the other side

Hip circles

This next move combines the previous two, so it's best to do it in this order to build up the intensity of your glute activation work.

Start in the same position as dog-leg and donkey kicks

Take one leg back and up, thrust like a donkey kick

Before you lower it back down, take it out to the side (to a dog-leg position) without losing the angle at the knee or ankle

From here, bring that knee into the elbow on the same side, without moving the arms. This move works the abs and really opens the pelvic bowl

Lower the knee back to the floor

Repeat 8-10 times on that side, then on the other side


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