THE MOST OVERLOOKED MUSCLE GROUP FOR MEN
It’s commonly quoted not to skip ‘leg day’ with all the benefits that training your legs provides, but the glutes (buttocks) still don’t get the attention they need!
There are a plethora of reasons why we should train the glutes (buttocks). However, they only tend to be worked during other leg movements when training quads (front thigh) and hamstrings (rear thigh). By targeting them directly we can reap the rewards much quicker.
The lower body is responsible for handling a lot of daily tasks as well as contributing to performance through power and stability. Having weak glutes is a big contributor to inefficient movement and as a result, other muscles start to compensate for the lack of help from the glutes creating a whole host of problems.
IT band syndrome and patella pain have shown to be increased in individuals with weaker glutes and as glutes also play a role in hip extension (along with the lower back muscles), having weaker glutes forces the lower back musculature to compensate for the lack of help from the glutes (1,2,3).
The glutes can be separated into 3 distinct muscles; Minimus, Medius, and Maximus thus the issues of weak glutes can be a separate article by itself but another important factor the Glute Maximus influences is the deceleration of the leg swing when running. Lack of strength in the Glute Maximus causes the hamstring to compensate during the deceleration phase resulting in a potential compensation injury (4).
The glutes can contribute to a lot of power produced by the body and the lack of strong glutes can leave you unlocked potential within your performances.
The glutes are one of the biggest and most powerful muscles in the body resulting in a high potential of power development. The glute max, in particular, contributes a lot during sprinting and explosive activities, therefore to optimise performance strong glutes are needed (5,6). For example, during a squat it is important such actions are helped by strong glutes, as hip extension (leg behind the body), hip external rotation (knee rotating outwards) and hip abduction (leg away from the body) are vital to produce an efficient rep (6,7).
To develop strong glutes, there are multiple array of exercises that can be used:
Barbell Hip Thrust
1.Back rested on the bench just beneath the shoulder blades.
2. Feet shoulder width, feet straight or slightly pointed out.
3. Rest the bar just above the pubic bone.
4. Exhale and drive through the heels keeping the feet flat.
5. Push with the glutes.
6. At the top ensure full hip extension and lock out the hips.
7. At the top the knees should be over the toes.
8. Inhale and slowly lower down.
9. Hold the last rep at the top for 3-10 seconds.
Dumbbell Split Squat Elevated Foot
1.Step forward so the knee is above the foot
2. The front foot is flat
3. Flex both knees
4. Place your weight over the front foot
5. Torso at 35 – 45 degrees, with back straight.
6. Breathe in a brace the core
7. Slowly lower yourself
8. Stop just before your knee touching the floor
9. Exhale and push up using the front foot
1. Squeeze the shoulder blades together.
2. The bar sits on the upper back
3. Feet shoulder width, toes slightly pointing out.
4. Tilt the pelvis back and arch the chest.
5. Simultaneously flex knees while pushing hips back.
6. Maintain your torso angle throughout.
7. Transfer your weight into the heels.
8. Knees behind the toes.
9. Inhale with a slow, controlled descent.
10. Squat as deep as possible. Work to thighs at parallel as a minimum.
11. Hold breath for a brief second as you pause at the bottom.
12. Drive feet into the floor.
13. Exhale and simultaneously extend the hips and knees.
14. Chest facing forward.
15. Head and eyes looking forward.
16. Keep the knees soft at the top.
1. Lying on your side
2. Support the head with the arm
3. Flex the hips to 45 degrees
4. Flex the knees to approx. 90 degrees
5. Place the feet together
6. Begin by squeezing the feet together then opening the knees as far apart as possible
7. Do not rock or move the hips throughout
- Add a band around the knees to increase resistance.