Your glutes are important. But the problem nowadays though is that we tend to sit a lot and for prolonged periods of time, which is a great way to potentially “forget” how to use your glutes especially if you don’t take action to counteract this. So, if you suspect you’re suffering from ‘gluteal amnesia,’ or you’d just like to see better results with your glutes exercises and glute workouts, then it’s time to start learning how to activate your glutes. And to do so, we’re going to use a 4 step glute activation plan. Where with the use of a few daily glute activation exercises, we’ll be able to gradually get your glutes firing harder and harder to the point where you’ll be actually use your glutes whenever you walk, move, and perform your lifts, instead of having your lower back or other muscles compensate and work overtime as a result of weak glutes.
The first thing we want to do when it comes to how to activate your glutes is just get you to understand what a glute contraction actually feels like and getting your brain to connect to the muscle. We’ll do so with just a seated and kneeling glutes contraction. Then, once you’re able to successfully contract your glutes in each of those positions, we’ll progress to step 2.
To do so, we’ll use two simple glute activation exercises that Dr. Stuart McGill, based on his 30+ years of extensive lab and experimental research, found are the best options to getting those glutes firing again. The first move, the glute bridge, will target the gluteus maximus. For these, first lay on your back with your knees bent. While keeping your core braced and without arching your lower back, squeeze your butt muscles to get them engaged first, and then lift up while keeping your glutes contracted. At the top, squeeze your glutes as hard as possible for about 5 seconds before coming back down. Next are clam shells which will target the gluteus medius. For these, lay on your side with your knees and hips bent. Use one arm to make a pillow for your head. Next, while keeping your feet together and core braced, open up your top knee like a clam shell so that the knee of your upper leg rises towards the ceiling. Dr. Stuart McGill recommends 3 sets of 10 reps but with each rep performed mindfully and with a strong activation of the glutes.
Now, once you get to a point where your glutes are “back on” and your hamstrings and lower back feel a little relieved as a result, you’ll want to then start progressively challenging your glutes for more glute activation. There are 3 exercises that Dr. Stuart McGill recommends. First, would be lateral step ups. Next, is the goblet squat. Lastly, we’ll use cable pull-throughs. These exercises are essential to get your glutes in the habit of knowing how to work together with your other muscles in various movement patterns.
Now lastly, although you will likely have success with the previous steps, it’s important that we don’t overlook a potential root cause of your weak glutes – too much sitting. Which is where step 4, prevention comes in. You want to avoid prolonged periods of sitting where you aren’t using your glutes at all, and instead get up and take a walk or have a stretch at least between every 30 minutes of sitting. And even better, during your breaks, perform what I’ll call a “wake up” exercise for your glutes. For example, one great mindful exercise is toe raises, where you point your toes outwards, squeeze your quads, and then rise up to the balls of your feet while squeezing your glutes. Hold for 5 seconds and then come back down and repeat for a total of 10 reps.
So, as a summary, here’s the daily action plan to get rid of gluteal amnesia.
Glute Bridges (3 sets of 10 reps with 5 second pause at top)
Clam Shells (3 sets of 10 reps per side)
Wake Up Exercise (10 reps with 5 second holds, done 3-5 times throughout the day)
Now as your glutes activation improves and you’ve had success with the progression exercises, eventually you’ll reach a point where these daily glute exercises for the most part will no longer needed since you’ll be able to activate, strengthen, and grow your glutes to a much greater degree through your main lower body exercises. But, to get to that point, it’s absolutely vital that you stay consistent with the plan we’ve outlined.
And for a step-by-step program that uses science to show you not only how to properly train each of your muscles week after week, but also how to then best fuel them for recovery and growth so that you can build lean muscle and strip off fat in the most efficient way possible, then simply head on over to builtwithscience.com to take the analysis quiz to discover what program would be best for you and your specific body:
LINK TO DR.STUART MCGILL’S WORK & BOOKS:
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