Glute Activation: What You Need to Know
When it comes to buzzwords, "glute activation" is most certainly up there. It's hard to walk into a box these days without hearing someone talking about it - and with good reason. Here's what you need to know:
The Importance of Glute Activation
Your glutes are made up of three muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. These muscles work together to perform a range of functions, from hip extension to rotation of the thigh and hip.
Put simply, we need fully-functioning glutes to efficiently perform movements and prevent injury. This applies outside the gym too, as underactive glutes contribute to a range of issues, from postural imbalances to knee, back and shoulder pain.
This is important in the box, as your glutes play a crucial role in the majority of movements - not just squats and deadlifts. If you want to improve the quality of your movements, and watch your WOD times improve as a result, check your glute activation!
Inactive Glutes Are Common
Lots of people have inhibited, or underactive, glutes, which goes some way towards explaining the hype surrounding activation.
This is because many of us spend most of the day sitting down: we sit at our desks at work, go to the gym, and then spend the rest of the night sitting on the sofa. We sit down when we visit friends, when we go to the pub, and when we go to sporting events.
In simple terms, this is where the problem of underactive glutes usually comes from. When you're constantly seated, your glutes are constantly in a relaxed state. They're not active and, over time, your body will forget how to use them properly.
Do you spend lots of time seated? If you do, and you often feel tightness in your hamstrings or quads during glute-dominant movements, introduce some glute activation exercises to your warm-up routine.
How to Activate Your Glutes
The good news is, if you're suffering from lazy glutes, it's relatively easy to kick them into action! There are plenty of awesome resources out there to help you along the way. Here are some of our favourites:
- 4 Simple Exercises to Get Your Glutes Fired Up - Breaking Muscle
- 5 Moves to Wake Up Your Glutes - BodyBuilding.com
- Glute Activation: 10 Must-Do Exercises - Redefining Strength
As always, make sure you're performing the exercises correctly to make sure you're hitting the right muscle groups. This can be tricky to begin with, as you're not used to using your glutes. If you're not sure, ask your coach for some advice.