Why is it important to activate your glutes?
“Glute Activation” is the buzz word in the fitness industry at the moment and you may be asking yourself “why it is important to activate your glutes and is it really necessary”?
Today’s blog is going to cover the who’s, what, when’s and why’s of activation so you can maximise your glute growth potential.
What is glute activation?
Essentially, glute activation means to “wake up” or “fire up” the glutes. Activation helps to switch on the connection between your brain and muscle (glutes), telling them that it is time to work.
Why do we activate our glutes?
We have all heard the saying “if you don’t use it, you lose it”, this absolutely applies to the body and muscle formation. We are extremely sedentary in our daily lives outside of training sessions and step targets; meaning that we spend the majority of our day sitting on our glutes without the muscle having to do much work. What happens here is that the glutes begin to atrophy and “fall asleep” as they aren’t being used. The issue here is that we tend to just show up to the gym, pre-workout in hand, with our minds ready to train but we forget about waking up our body. Have you woken up your glutes by the time you start your session? If you aren’t already activating your glutes, the answer is no.
Glute activation techniques such as the use of booty bands and ankle weight work help us to form a deeper mind to muscle connection between our brains and our booty. This connection allows for an increased “burn” and blood flow to the site during our training, which, results in more effective glute sessions and increased muscle growth.
Most people struggle to develop their glutes and this can be largely due to their inability to “fire” their glutes correctly during their training sessions. What this means is that instead of your glutes taking the load, generating the force and doing the work in your lower body sessions, the other parts of your legs are compensating. This leads to growth in the hamstrings and quadriceps with the glutes unfortunately lagging behind.
If you want to have better use of your glutes throughout your training session, you need to train your brain and muscles to do so. Too often I hear women say that they are unable to feel glute dominant exercises such as hip thrusts for example. This is a huge problem especially if you goal is to build larger glutes. By activating your glutes prior to training, you ensure that this is the dominant muscle used in your training; they are switched on and ready to work, thus you will have a better connection with the muscle and be able to “feel” that muscle working.
How do you activate your glutes?
Activation requires little to no weight use at all, in fact. the key tools in glute activation are the booty band, ankle weights and more recently introduced, the cotton band. This is because activation is not about the “load” or the weight you move, it is all about focus, contraction, the mind to muscle connection and the squeeze. I encourage and incorporate the use of a mixture of all three when I activate my glutes prior to leg sessions.
I would highly suggest that before each leg session you spend 5 to 10 minutes activating your glutes and working on the “mind to muscle” connection between your brain and your booty. By activating your glutes, you ensure that they are switched on and ready to work. This is absolutely imperative if you want to utilize your glutes to their maximum potential throughout the session.
Cotton bands and mini bands are also an incredible way to hold tension on your glutes during the session itself and add an increased challenge to the workout.
I have provided you with two of my current favourite activation techniques. You will just need a mini band at a resistance that suits your current strength level.
Perform each exercise in the circuit for 20 seconds followed by 5 seconds rest. Complete the circuit 3-4 times before starting your training session.
- Banded Standing Abductor
- Banded Kick Backs (L)
- Banded Kick Backs (R)
- Banded Low Crab Walks
- Banded Reverse Hypers
- Banded Sumo Squat Pulses
- Banded Thrusts
- Banded Thrust Flutters
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