Part 1 of this blog were going to be covering topics such as your basic anatomy of the glutes, the “use it or lose it”, and training and understanding your glutes.
I know you’re eager to know which exercises to train your glutes and that you’re hoping for a program on how to do that. Don’t worry, I’ve compiled all of my best selection of glute exercises and a few sample programs and strategies that you can try for yourself or for your clients (if you are a trainer). This will be something we will look at in the later weeks in part 2 and 3 of this blog. First of all let’s get to know the glutes better in the simplest way possible to help you read this blog more efficiently.
Gluteus Maximus – The largest muscle in the human body.
Origin – Fascia (connective tissue) of the glutes medius (smaller glute muscle). Basically, connected to your erector spinae, ilium (largest part of your pelvis bone), sacrum (base of the spinae), coccyx (tail bone) and sacrotuberal ligaments.
Action – Extension of the femur from the flexed position in the hip joint. When you are coming back up from the squat hole or when you swing your leg backward before you kick a ball.
Gluteus Medius – Smaller gluteal muscle.
Origin – External surface of the ilium between the anterior and posterior gluteal lines. Outer surface of the pelvis
Action – Abduction of the hip and stabilisation of the pelvis. Imagine bringing 1 leg to the side while standing on the other leg. It is also responsible for the medial rotation of the hip. Stand on one leg, bend one leg backwards and turn it outside. That is the medial rotation of the hip.
*Gluteus max *Gluteus med
TRAIN YOUR GLUTE. “USE IT OR LOSE IT.”
“Hip extension and rotation are paramount in many athletic endeavours, as well as functions of daily life. A simple internet search will yield many peer reviewed articles showing a relationship between the strength of this muscle group and athletic performance, as well as low back pain, hip pain, knee pain, ….”
I wrote this on my previous glute blog titled “Gluteus max activate!!” Just like every single muscle in the human body, the gluteal muscles have the effect of “use it or lose it”. But why should we train our glutes? Here’s why;
Strengthen the lower extremity.
Think about what I said earlier, the gluteal muscles are the biggest muscles in human body. Powerful hip extension = powerful movement. To become powerful, you need to be strong and powerful at the backside! From sprinters all the way to pitchers and from the running track to the car with your groceries bags! You need that strong powerful backside.
Well-developed and trained glutes improve coordination because they stabilises the hip joints. It allows the body to move better. Whether jumping, hitting, throwing, or sprinting, optimal power production is essential. All these movements originate with an explosive extension of the hips. The posterior chain is comprised primarily of the glutes, hamstrings, and the largest muscles on the back of the legs. These muscles are responsible for extending the hips, so gaining power is largely about strengthening these muscles. Unfortunately, since the posterior chain doesn’t include the flex-able “mirror muscles” we love to show off, it’s all too easy to forget their importance. Nonetheless, they’re essential to being a powerful athlete on the field.
Decreased risk of injury.
Back to the function of the glute max, extension. Which muscle would you use to come up from the squat hole? The biggest muscle in your body, the glute max. It is bigger than your back muscles. Which muscle would you rather use to get up with 300kg’s on your back. Your glutes or your lower back? Exactly! Training the glutes will literally save your life by reducing the risk of injuries.
It gives you biceps, on your butt. That is it.
Glute training used to be the “female” exercise. Because apparently girls love to have big glutes. But over the last few years, I’ve noticed that a huge amount of trainers train their glutes. I’ve seen coaches making their trainers do glute training. There are also a number of blogs written about glute training (guilty) and research about this amazing muscle. The final reason to do glute training is the most obvious reason, it gives you biceps on your butt, and I think that might be the main reason why you might read this blog besides to learn more about it.
UNDERSTANDING THE “GLUTE” FACTORS
Like most of you might already know, there are a few factors that need to be considered when it comes to results. Be it with strength, muscle mass, flexibility to name a few. Just like the rest, glute development will be the product of these factors. These goals require a slightly (completely in some case) different approach to train the glutes.
- Factor no.1 – Goals
Each individual has different types of goals. Some want to compete in physique competitions like body building, some might want to improve their sports performance and athleticism like powerlifters, sprinters, while others might just want to simply have a better butt. This is not directed to the ladies, I have a few friends and clients that ENJOY doing glute training and are loving the results. Whatever the goal might be, there is always a way to incorporate glute work.
- Factor no.2 – Equipment availability
Not all gyms will have the same equipment and in some cases you might not have a gym to train at. But don’t worry, although it might be challenging you can still train your glutes without any equipment. Common equipment used to train the glutes include, hip thrust bench, barbell, resistance bands, dumbbell, and kettlebells etc. But don’t worry if you don’t have any of those toys. Even if you are stuck on an island, you can work on developing your glutes. You just have to be creative.
- Factor no.3 – Training Protocol
This goes back to goals. Powerlifters train differently to bodybuilders. Bodybuilders train differently compared to sprinters. Some might do upper/lower split, some might do total body work, some might do pure strength work. Although there is crossover between two different types of protocols, specificity requires us to work towards the direction of the goals, hence the protocols.
- Factor no.4 – Anthropometry (body types)
This is something that we have to understand. No two bodies are the same, heck even a single body requires slight different training methods because of the asymmetrical issue. Just imagine this; our anatomy itself can be asymmetrical, such as leg length discrepancies, right to left pelvic and hip asymmetries. Structural asymmetry is more common more than you would think. The biggest part of all is our daily movement patterns. Think of the way we stand. We tend to stand more on one side than the other. We sit for prolonged periods of time. I had a client that had 1 weaker glute and a pretty visible size difference. The way I train her was slightly different compared to those with pretty equal glutes. I usually let her spend more time on the weaker side when it comes to activation, sets and reps. Just like other body parts, the weaker side needs more attention compared to the stronger side.
- Factor no.5 – The Glute Itself!
Glutes are one of the most easily inhibited muscles in the human body. Physical therapists and coaches in the last decade know how the glutes are quite prone to inhibition. This results in the glutes functioning sub-optimally. Reason? Scientifically, gluteal activation is innervated by neural and mechanical inhibition involving opposing muscles (agonist/antagonist). Simpler explanation? Inactivity. If you fail to consistently move (activate) the muscle and to challenge it’s capacity (exercising), it will stop working properly.
In conclusion, there are a lot of factors that will contribute to the way you train and develop your gluteal muscles. The 5 factors I outlined above are just some that may resonate and assist you.
Part 2 and 3 of this blog we will be diving into the fun part and start looking into the training aspect and training programs for specific individuals.
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