Dormant glute muscles are an epidemic. Every day billions of people move around with improper, painful mechanics due to sleepy glutes. Wake up your posterior with glute activation exercises and enjoy increased strength, less pain, and better movement than ever before!
Glute Activation Exercise Video:
What Is Glute Activation?
Glute activation and glute activation exercises refer to the ability of the gluteal muscles recruit muscle fibers and contract with a mind-muscle connection. In simpler terms, glute activation means telling your glutes to fire and they do. A great tell-tale sign that you have nice glute activation is that your actual buttock muscles can get sore after a lower body workout.
Why Is Glute Activation Important?
You should care about glute activation exercises because in 2022, nearly everybody has underdeveloped, under-active glute muscles. This is not our fault, it is the result of a sedentary lifestyle without much need for functional glutes day-to-day. However, if you want to live an athletic, high impact, pain free lifestyle you better make damn sure your glutes are activating like well-oiled machines or your performance and poor lower back health will suffer.
Glute activation is key to unlocking the highest level of performance. Whether you are trying to jump higher, run faster, lift heavier, compete longer, or do anything physical involving the legs - the glutes are one of the primary muscles at play. The better you can control and fire these muscles the more force you can produce to perform your activity at the highest level.
How Do I Activate My Glutes?
Here we come to the actual glute activation exercises. I recommend doing these as part of a glute activation warm up prior to leg-intensive work or a sport. Each of these movements target different muscles in the glute complex in different ways, so try them all and see what works best for your body and goals.
Best Glute Activation Exercises:
Glute Activation Exercise 1 - Clamshells:
This is best banded. Wrap a band around the knees and focus on contracting the outer glute muscles (including Gluteus Medius) to perform the movement.
Glute Activation Exercise 2 - Glute Kickbacks:
A low stress exercise to teach the glutes to work while standing. The goal with this is to feel the movement in the Gluteus Maximus, not the lower back erectors.
Glute Activation Exercise 3 - Banded Glute Pull Throughs:
This is my favorite. Grab a high tension band and hinge safely while emphasizing tension on the glute muscles.
Glute Activation Exercise 4 - Double Leg Bridge:
The basic. This can be done anywhere.
Glute Activation Exercise 5 - Single Leg Bridge:
Similar to the double leg bridge, but more difficult and more stabilizing. Check out a Single Leg Bridge article we wrote previously.
Glute Activation Exercise 6 - Weighted Single Leg Bridge:
This is the goal, the glute activation standard we want to achieve. A great metric to hit for this exercise is 1/3 of your bodyweight for an easy, glute-firing 8 pause reps with a controlled eccentric.
What If My Glutes Don't Work?
If glute activation exercises can't get your glutes to wake up and fire, I suggest booking a session with a good physical therapist or personal trainer in person. Most competent professionals teach this day in day out.
If you neglect glute activation altogether, your body will be hindered one way or another. Mostly popularly, a hindrance from dormant glutes can result in limited performance with lower back exercises (including jumping, running, lifting, squatting, deadlifting, etc.), and potential lower back pain - since the lower back muscles will have to take up the slack. Don't let this be you, join the movement and wake up the glutes today!
Flexible Back (Stretching): The complete stretching program and principles for breaking through your stiffness contributing to pain. The elephant walk exercise is one of many tools utilized in this program.
Back Of Steel (Strengthening): The total strengthening regimen for building up every weak point in an underdeveloped back system.
QL Claw (Trigger Point/Massage): The ultimate deep tissue massage tool for targeting the specific muscles that develop tension and contribute to lower back pain. I made this myself after 4 years of brutal back pain and tension, and it was my first key to unlocking the complete pain-free back I carry today.