WHY YOU NEED TO ACTIVATE YOUR GLUTES

Did you know that the average American sits for 18 hours a day?

Because we're sitting for so long, our muscles get shortened,  stiff and it becomes increasingly difficult to grow our glutes.

Glute activation is a critical piece of your booty gains because when you can't/don't target them efficiently your body will find ways to overcompensate.

Your body is lazy (always looking for a way to cheat) and will use other muscles in places like your lower back, hamstrings, and quads to do the work.

In other words, if you do a glute workout and don't feel it in your glutes at all, you're not targetting the muscles in your booty correctly.

Compensating and using the wrong muscles when you lift leads to sh*tty form and injury.

Typically this happens because our hips are too tight from sitting for 75% of the day and our range of motion is limited.

How can you fix this?

Effectively activating our glutes during our warm up and workouts by improving your range of motion.

There are certain booty building workouts that are easier to master the form of but before I you those, I have to teach you how to have a better range of motion in your hip joint.

In high school, I hated math with a passion because I was never good at following the order of operations (remember PEMDAS?)

I never memorized the multiplication table so it would take me so long to complete any math problems.

Even though my foundation sucked, I began to move up to harder classes, yet realized I was STILL confused.

I would ask my friend to help me understand how to solve certain problems (and would get so frustrated that I would end up just copying her answers - embarrassing!)  I still had no idea how the hell she got to her answer.

The same happens to you when you want to grow your glutes, copy people's workouts on Instagram or Youtube yet you still have no idea how they got there.

We (try) to copy their workouts but don't realize that there's an order of operations in Booty Building (similar to algebra).

If you've been doing a crazy amount of squats and getting small (or no) results there's a high probability that you haven't mastered the foundation and have been skipping steps.

If your biggest challenges are finding the right booty building workouts and making sure your form is right you want to begin with building a strong foundation of knowledge first. 

Today's blog post is going to discuss the order of operations to help you maximize your glute growth:

  • Improving your range of motion
  • Dynamic stretching + mobility
  • Mind to muscle connection
  • Why and how to activate your glutes

1.  Improving Range of Motion

Your glutes are composed of 3 main muscles: Glute minimus, medius, and maximus.

The glutes have a few different functions in our body that they're able to do:

  • Hip Extension
  • Hip External Rotation
  • Hip Transverse abduction 
  • Posterior Pelvic tilt

Because your booty can do so many different things, it's important to incorporate a variety of movements to target the different angles of your glutes. However, when we've been sitting down for 75% of the day, it's going to be difficult to target the glutes without working on improving your range of motion.

Range of motion: how much movement can be done around a specific joint or body part.

In order for your joints to have the full range of motion needed to complete my moves correctly, you have to have some flexibility.

Flexibility is the range of motion around a joint. Each joint has its own level of flexibility.

If a joint has a good range of motion, it'll be able to move in all planes and directions (permitted to that joint).

For example, your elbow is a hinged joint and your body only allows it to move in one direction, but it should provide a full range of motion from extension to flexion.

Here's how to know if you lack range of motion? If you go down into a squat &:

  • it’s hard to not get on your tippy toes
  • you cannot get below parrallel
  • your back hurts
  • your knees hurt

You can fix limited range of motion issues by practicing mobility.

I’m going to show you how to improve your range of motion with this first move to untighten your hamstrings.

We do this by getting your hips to hinge and give you some of that mobility.

2. Dynamic Warmup + Mobility

Before each and every workout you absolutely need to warm up, no excuses.

7 minutes at the minimum, 10 minutes max.

There are NO RESTS between your sets during your warm up. It’s a warm-up, which means it should not be hard enough that you need to stop. Just go through it. Quick!

To warm up you can also jog, run on the treadmill, or even do light lunges. You want to do actions that are going to simulate the exercise that you are going to perform during your workout.

DYNAMIC STRETCHES VS REGULAR STRETCHING

A dynamic warm-up uses stretches that are "dynamic," meaning you are moving as you stretch. Dynamic stretching is almost like mimicking what you’ going to do during the workout.
 

3. Activate the Glutes

Glute activation means you want to feel your glutes and wake them up before your workout.

Like I mentioned earlier, we spend a lot of time sitting which leads to inactive glutes.

If you’re not activating your glutes, you’re not really using them to their highest potential (aka they stay asleep.) 

Activation helps to establish the connection between your brain and your muscles. I do activation before my workouts, in between sets and sometimes as finishers (at the end of my workout.)

If you don't "wake up" your glutes from the deep slumber they've been in all day from sitting, it'll be hard to fully recruit and use them during your booty building workout.

When your glutes aren't fully activated, your body will start to look for ways to compensate.

Your body is always trying to look for the easy way out. #NotLoyal

If your glutes are not activated and you start doing squats, the wrong muscles start getting called up to the plate.

In other words, instead of your glutes working, your body will try to "cheat" and recruit your lower back, hamstrings, and/or quads to do the work. 

Compensating and using the wrong muscles when you lift, can lead to shitty form and injury.

You may be thinking “Why lift weights when my body is heavy enough? Can’t I just do regular lunges or squats?

In part — you’re right. Using your own body weight is a great way to build strength and endurance but NOT grow more muscle.

& you're probably familiar with the infamous 30-day squat challenges and I'm keeping it real with you girl, they don't work. Why?

Because studies show that body weight squats and lunges only activate around 10% of your glute muscles. & because you aren't activating them that's exactly why you aren't getting results.

Glute activation is about more than doing 735 squats and lunges during your workout.  

Here are 3 highly effective examples of glute activation exercises YOU can add into your rotation:  

  1. Clamshells: Place your elbow directly underneath your shoulder. Lift your obliques & don't allow your waist to drop. Keep your knees and toes glued together. Then lift your top knee up without allowing the hips to rotate back at all. Keep your feet together and core engaged. * Don't focus on how high you can get your knees - instead focus on using singular muscles to lift your leg up & down.
  2. Glute Bridges:  Keep your heels close to your butt while keeping your knees parallel. Press down through the heel and keep your core tight.
  3. Donkey Kick to Side Tap: Keep your hands under your shoulders and knees right under your hips. Keep your abdominals in and your back flat. Do not arch your back.  Keep your hips square and flex your foot. Once you've lifted the leg you're going to have your toe tap the ground. Don't allow your hips to rotate outwards. Keep abdominals in. 
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Glute activation should be done before your workout, but it can also be done as an active rest between sets. (I do this & it works well.)

When done correctly and consistently you can shape a better, tighter backside.

While you're doing each exercise, make sure you engage your core.

Your stomach is not a flotation device :)  Suck + tuck and don't hold your breath. 

P.S. If you get intimidated at the gym and try to stay away from that area the best place to start is at home to build mastery before heading to the gym.

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Did you learn anything new from this post? If so, please let me know in the comment box below. I'd love to hear from you!

<3 Your virtual fitness Coach - Masiel Encarnación