BUTT WHY? The Importance of Strong Glutes
What's butt got to do with it? The answer... everything!
Yes glutes are important for the all-around aesthetic appeal, but there is actually a purpose behind training them that goes far beyond having a glorious tush. Let's dig a little deeper into understanding just how important those booties really are.
WHAT ARE YOUR GLUTES?
Your 'glutes', or your gluteal muscles, refer to the muscles in your butt. Specifically, they incorporate 3 different muscles: your gluteus maximus (the main, larger muscle that shapes your backside), your gluteus medius and minimus (two smaller muscles that assist in movement).
WHAT CAUSES WEAK GLUTES?
Due to our heavily sedentary lifestyles, many of us suffer from under-active or weak glutes. In today's world, we are spending less time moving around and more time sitting, and as a result, we aren't properly using our glute muscles.
Because of this inability to develop our glutes effectively, they cannot activate properly during training sessions, and instead, other parts of our legs are compensating. This in turn leads to growth in other areas such as our hamstrings and quads, leaving our booty falling short.
Symptoms of weak or inactive glutes can also include: tight hip flexors, knee pain, low back pain, and weak ankles and feet.
This is why it is so important to use techniques that 'wake-up' our glutes prior to training, in order to boost our ability to perform, and ensure that they work properly during training.
WHAT IS GLUTE ACTIVATION?
In simple terms, under-active or weak glutes remain 'inactive' or 'switched off.' This can mean that the muscles are weak and are not relied on as much as they should be during physical movements. Glute activation refers to 'activating' or 'firing up' the muscles in an effort to strengthen them,
Think of glute activation in terms of warming up your muscles prior to a workout session. Doing so increases the temperature and flexibility of your muscles, and helps you be more efficient and safer during your workout.
WHY IS GLUTE ACTIVATION SO IMPORTANT?
The main and most obvious reason, is so that you can strengthen them. These muscles have a huge impact on your overall body strength; they help strengthen your core, and help to support a range of compound movements and exercises. Strong glute muscles also help prevent and avoid muscle imbalances that can lead to mobility issues.
A perfect example would be weak glutes causing an imbalance in the hip. This may lead to excessive rotation of the femur (thigh bone), which in turn causes knee pain. Another example being that weakened glute muscles contribute to pulled muscles in your hamstring or groin.
Strong glutes are essential in almost every sport; they are responsible for changing directions, accelerating, decelerating and creating explosiveness jumps. When it comes to running, sprinting is one of the most effective exercises for stimulating the glutes, because they activate more of the gluteus maximus muscle than a vertical jump. Athletes with strong glutes will be faster, more efficient and explosive in their movements.
WHAT IS THE MIND TO MUSCLE CONNECTION?
Often referred to as 'getting in the zone,' the mind to muscle (MTM) connection is probably one of the most difficult things to do, but it is also one of the fundamental components to a successful session.
Your performance is enhanced when you are able to mentally block out distractions and external pressures, and if you want to get the most out of your workout, you're going to have to focus. It is vital that you use your mind to properly engage and contract the muscle(s) you are working.
In order to successfully work a muscle group, you have to feel it working. You need to focus your mind on contracting and squeezing the muscle with every single rep. Try and force your mind to connect only on the exercise you're doing, along with the area you are trying to work.
Once you are able to achieve this, watch how much of a difference it makes not only to muscle engagement, but also to your form!
WHERE CAN I START?
Lower Body Crush | Monday's
get yourself familiar with working your posterior chain in a multitude of different strength & SkillMill exercises
Glute Lab | Monday's 6:30-7:15
want to learn specific techniques on how to turn on your glutes - take at least one of these classes and 'feel the burn'
Small Group Strength Classes | by request
want to master glute activation and shape your glutes (aka booty gains)? Chat with me about getting started! I offer specialized progressive programs to get you lifting heavy, firing those glute muscles, and seeing noticeable change within 2-3 months. To learn more about Small Groups or Private/Semi-Private training, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or chat with me after class!