If you have a job that requires sitting for at least four hours a day, you probably have a lazy bum. Even if you exercise a lot, sitting down for long periods of time everyday, reduces your brain’s subconscious ability to activate your glutes.
You might think, so what if I have a lazy bum?! Well the glutes are the biggest muscle in your body and one of the main stabilising muscles of your pelvis, which joins your legs to your torso to make the body a whole unit. Lazy glutes result in poor pelvic stability, and poor upright alignment, which can lead to all sorts of biomechanical problems.
If you think about your body as a factory production line, and each group of muscles (i.e. calves, quads, hamstrings) is one engine or machine on that line. Your gluteal muscles are the biggest machines and they are right in the middle of the production line. If the biggest machine is not pulling its weight, the rest of the machines have to work harder and they end up breaking down. (i.e. knee pain, back pain, tight hamstrings etc.)
Glute activation is about waking up the connection from your brain to the muscle, so that and the muscles are fired up and ready to do some work.
We can increase the amount of work done by our glutes by activating them with some exercises before your workout.
Here are three simple exercises to wake up those glutes!
- Pelvic clock
This is a prep before your glute activation exercises to improve body and joint awareness and relax the hip flexors and other potentially tight muscles around the hips.
- Glute bridge
- Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the ground. Your feet should be about sit-bone width apart.
- Bend your elbows to 90 degrees so that only your upper arm is on the ground.
- Press into your heels, tilt the pelvis back and peel the spine off bone by bone until you come up to the widest part of the shoulders. Keep tilting the pelvis back so you don’t extend your lower back
- Make sure your legs are parallel and your knees don’t drop in or flare out to the side.
- Squeeze your glutes for 3 seconds at the top and then roll the spine down again slowly with control.
- You should feel this move in your glutes and hamstrings and not in your low back.
- Modified Clamshell
- Lie on your side with your head resting comfortably.
- Your bottom leg should be straight, with your top hip bent up to ninety degrees so your top foot rests behind your bottom knee. Your hips should be forward, and should remain in this forward position throughout the entire movement to come.
- Squeeze your glutes and lift your knee off the ground, keeping your top foot rested on your bottom knee (make sure your top hip doesn’t roll back because it most certainly will try to do so).
- You should feel this exercise approximately where your jeans pocket would be.
So start activating your glutes today!
– Wong Zi En, Instructor