Working in exercise rehabilitation for five years and the fitness industry for ten years has certainly enabled me to build up a picture of where I should focus with regard to training my students and patients.
In my late teens and early twenties, I was certainly guilty of mirror muscles training (chest and biceps, abs and quads). Now, with an increased understanding of what is really important with regard to long-term function and quality of life, I have grown to love the glutes group.
Weakness of the glutes has been linked to all kinds of musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain, hip pain and knee pain, so it makes sense to give this muscle group some serious attention.
I also find that although glutes training is perceived to be a ‘female’ only muscle group by some in the gym. A female observing a male of 95 kg and 6’3, smashing out frog pumps and hip thrusts encourages them to work alongside me and trust me to know I have their best interest at heart.
The glutes play a major role in keeping the hip stable and are also a key factor in sprinting. Have I sold this to you yet? Here are my top four exercises for the glutes:
1). Hip Thrust
If aesthetics is your main concern in training and you want to build a booty like Beyoncé, there is no substitute for the hip thrust. Made popular by the ‘Glute Guy’, Mr. Bret Contreras, this has superior glutes activation over any other exercise, check him out on IG.
For me, this is the starting point for almost all my patients or students (as regressions may play a big part). We are a lift-and-carry animal. The deadlift may look mean in the gym when you see Big Bob lifting some serious steel, but don’t be discouraged. Just grooving the pattern of hinging from the hip and lifting 30 to 60 kg can be hugely beneficial (it’s not how much you lift, it’s how you lift it). This could also save you medical expenses later in life.
3). Single Leg Deadlifts
Challenging the single leg is where we start to see some progress in hip stability. This becomes very important when you are running. People tend to not realise the complexity of running, as we are rarely taught this skill. Let me assure you – strengthening the muscles (hamstrings and glutes) can give you an opportunity to reduce the risks of injury.
4). Step Ups
I read recently (and found quite disturbing) that stairs are one of the functional limiting factors that result in elderly people having to move into care homes. Not maintaining the functional skill of transferring yourself from step to step could reduce your quality of life in the later years. Get these into your programme – prevention is better than cure.
Move & Groove, fitness fanatics.