The Glutes are Made for More Than Just Your Viewing Pleasure ;)

We all love a firm booty don’t we! Whether you’re a man or a woman, the glutes are an area we like to target in the gym. They’re aesthetically pleasing and we just can’t help but envy those with a perky butt! Glute focused workouts have skyrocketed in the last few years. Everyone is pumping up their posterior! So what’s the big deal anyway? And should YOU be jumping on the booty bandwagon?

Well first, let’s take a look at the function of your backside. The gluteal muscles include: the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. Together, the “glutes” act to move your thigh muscles. We use them to get up from a seated or squat position, to go up stairs or hills, and to help with balance. They also help move the leg forward and backward, out to the side, and with rotating the leg inward and outward. The gluteus maximus  is considered one of the strongest muscles in the body! But guess what we do with that strong muscle all day? We sit on it! That powerful muscle getting squashed all day…what a waste!

You might be thinking, yeah, but I squat, I run, I workout, my glutes are fine.  But the thing is, we still have a hard time connecting to them in our workout. Because of the excessive amount of sitting we do, even if you still get your workouts in everyday, our glutes have developed some amnesia. We’ve lost the brain to muscle connection. So unless you do specific isolation exercises to activate the gluteus muscles BEFORE your workout, chances are you won’t be using them correctly DURING your workout. We can squat, deadlift, and swing kettlebells until the cows come home and never actually FEEL it or get the booty burn (and lift) we’re looking for. In fact most people tell me they don’t feel their glutes AT ALL during a workout! YIKES!

So I’ve decided to compile some of my favourite ways to activate the glutes during a workout. You can also use these as stand alone isolation exercises to really strengthen and shape your posterior. If you use this as a warm up, I would do 1 round of 20-30 reps of each. You can also do this as a great booty burn out at the end of your workout. Do 3 rounds of 20-30 reps each. Have fun!

  1. Glute Bridge – Place the band above the knees. Lying on your back with feet about shoulder distance apart and heels a few inches from your butt, push through the HEELS and SQUEEZE those glutes baby.
  2. Side lying Abduction – Lying on one side, band around the knees, bend your bottom leg and keep the top leg straight. Slightly turn the toes downward on the top leg and raise it up nice and high.
  3. Donkey Kicks – With the band above the knee, come onto all 4’s. Feel free to lower to your forearms or stay on your hands. Pin one side of the band under your knee. With the unpinned side, raise your leg up, pushing the heel up towards the ceiling. Keep your core pulled in so you’re not arching the back and make sure to really squeeze at the top of the movement.
  4. Side Steps – place the band around the ankles. Push the hips back, with a slight bend in the knees. Step side to side, trying to stay even and not bounce between steps. Never bring the feet all the way together, alway make sure there’s a bit of tension in the band.
  5. Squats – With the band above the knee, sit the hips back and down, driving the knees out as you squat down. Push through the heels to come up and squeeze those glutes as you stand up!
  6. Banded Squat Hops – With the band above the knee, stand with the feet hip distance apart. Hop the leg out wide and squat down. Hop back in to the start. Make sure to push the hips far back and watch that the knees don’t cave in or come past the toes. Repeat.

SO! Should you jump on the booty bandwagon? YES! Absolutely you should! Without proper glute engagement you cannot effectively squat, lunge, deadlift, run, jump, and have a well functioning body! The glutes are KEY in so many important daily functions. While the above exercises may tone and firm that booty of yours, more importantly they will help you become stronger in your daily life and fitness routine by improving your posture, supporting your low back and knees, AND making you a better human in general!!

Now go get that glute pump on!

In Wellness, Krista

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