So in Part One, I discussed why glute training is a must from a performance perspective, injury prevention perspective, low back health perspective and to get that Ines Sainz look.
I swear that’s my last reference reference to this accomplished television reporter. Now, let’s discuss how to place emphasis on your glutes in your training program. I feel there are three ways to get after the glutes. One is during the early part of your workout during your movement prep period, if you have a movement prep period. The second way to get at the glutes is through squat and deadlift variations. And the third way is through single leg training.
Movement prep could be referred to simply as your warm up period. It could contain some foam rolling, some static stretching, move onto dynamic flexibility work and then get into some activation or what some are now referring to as awareness work. This activation or awareness work is where some of your lower level glute work can fall in. This is where you actually remember that, yes, you have glutes. Here we get the glutes to work as their specifically intended: hip extension, hip abduction, and hip external rotation. Some exercises that fall into each of these categories are:
- Hip extension: supine bridge, supine bridge w/march, supine single bridge, quadruped hip extension and bird dogs.
- Hip Abduction: side lying leg raise, lateral mini-band walks and X band walks
- Hip External Rotation: side lying clam shells, side lying clam shells with band and quadruped fire hydrants
Pick one exercise from each category and perform in a circuit fashion for 10-15 reps of each exercise. Two sets of each will do a nice job making you aware that your glutes are there.
Next we move onto the meat and potatoes, the sweet potatoes, of your workout, the strength work. First up, squats or deadlifts. Sound imposing to you? Well they shouldn’t be. Squats and deadlifts are a movement pattern of every day living. Now we’re just going to stress those patterns more by adding some load. But now you’re going to tell me that you don’t know how to squat or deadlift correctly. My response? Learn. Use progressions. Chances are if someone had no experience deadlifting or squatting or had horrendous technique, I would use progressions with them. For instance, with the squat a nice progression is a plate squat to a box then moving to a front squat to a box and then to a back squat squat with a box. For deadlifts a progression would be cable pull throughs then to Romanian deadlifts then to rack pulls and then to barbell deadlifts. These are just a couple examples. Other exercises or progressions can be used to get you the point where you’re able to squat or deadlift with good technique.
Another thing with squats and deadlifts is that there are plenty of variations of each to use. When I say squat, it doesn’t mean you have to just barbell squat. There’s dumbbell squats, front squats, squats to a box and goblet squats as variations. The same goes for the deadlift. You have barbell deadlifts, rack pulls, trap bar deadlifts, suitcase deadlifts and deadlifts from an elevated surface as variations. Another reason why I love these two mainstays, plenty of variations.
Finishing up our glute training we move onto single leg training. The demand for stabilization is much greater when performing single leg exercises than when performing bi-lateral lower body exercises.. And what’s the number one stabilizer of your lower body? Your glutes. Just about any single leg exercise, whether it’s quad dominant or hip dominant is going to heavily bring the glutes into play. The list of single leg exercises is endless, but some of my favorites are: low box TKE’s, high box step ups, rear foot elevated split squats, Valslide reverse lunges and single leg RDL’s. No thigh master. No hip abduction or adduction machine, unless you you want to hop in the way back time machine and take a trip to a Bally’s gym around the year 1988.
Hopefully, I’ve summed up my thoughts on glute trainnig in a pretty simple manner. It should not be imposing. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It comes down to knowing why it’s a must, how to get it done and putting some time and effort in. It’s time to rid this country of flat butts, no butts and jiggly butts. It’s time to put those glutes to work.