YOUR GLUTES ARE LAZY! And the fact of the matter is… it is kind of our own fault. Many of us you have a desk job and sit for 8 hours or more (on your butt) thus atrophying this muscle unintentionally.
Have you ever noticed after a hard leg day with a “booty focus” you are more sore in your quads and hamstrings? This is exactly why. Even for those of us that work our legs as part of a regular routine, weakness through hips and glutes is common. Being seated all day causes the muscle nerve neurons to lie dormant. Then when we go to workout legs or more specifically your booty, your will body recruit all the other muscles to complete the exercise before it will actually get your glutes firing. Every muscle in our body is interconnected and if they aren’t “firing” in the right sequence then other muscles will pick up the slack.
So let’s paint this picture, it is Leg Day (my personal favorite of the week.) HELLO BOOTY GAINS! Planning your workout you have a killer day that of course includes HELLA HEAVY squats. That will get that booty to grow right? Well sure… it would if your body was actually firing correctly but for many of us that is not the case. So what actually happens is this…
You get to the bar, you load your weight and as your drop into your squat (Yes, even with perfect form) your weak glutes can’t stabilize your pelvis. This puts strain on your lower spine. Since the lower back is being forced into doing the hip-extending job of the glutes, you injure your back. And this is just the beginning of where these injuries and overcompensation can lead. Not to mention, you are not getting the desired aesthetic effects of that hard work.
Never fear! This is what I am here to help you with! Workout progression safely and effectively to actually activate your glutes, build strength and ultimately achieve the body you are working so hard for.
It all starts with…
Some of you may already know my counterpart, business partner and best friend Honestly Kelsey. Last week she broke down the importance of warming up your Glutes prior to a workout to get them firing on all cylinders BEFORE actually hitting a workout. If you missed it, check it out here! You will definitely want to use her routine to warm up before getting moving in any sort of strength routine.
With the warm up AND moving through the strength workout you will need one piece of equipment, Hip Circles! Hip circles are basically highly durable resistance bands that create additional tension and resistance when used properly. WARNING: all hip circles are not created equally and if you get the wrong ones they bunch up on your legs encasing them like sausages and cutting off the circulation to your knees. OK so maybe I am being a little dramatic, but seriously you want to find ones that will be comfortable for you. We have founds ones that we really like, created by Victorem. These come in a package of THREE, with different levels of resistance, which is perfect when it comes to leg and glute training! Plus they can be easily purchased on Amazon AND they are comfortable, no sausages here! Check them out! Victorem Hip Circles – Set of 3 Trust me, your glutes will have no choice but to stay engaged throughout your workout now!
So you got the warm up down, but how do you continue to progress safely and effectively through the strength portion of your leg and glute training routine while using this new type of resistance (AKA your hip circles) and the benefits of doing so…
- Bands challenge your muscles by creating resistance in multiple directions.
- In order to maintain the correct movement patterns for each exercise your body works to stabilize against the resistance. (This is how we begin to work the correct muscles. Movement patterns!)
- Increased strength & muscle stimulation in the actual targeted muscle group
- Stabilizer & support muscles often neglected during traditional strength training are activated and used
- Increased load without injury!
Resistance bands might not seem as satisfying as hearing the clanking of weights and iron but don’t let that deter you! From the warm up alone you should know resistance bands are no joke.
CHANGING THE LOAD
In traditional strength training, adding more to the “load” of a movement or more weight is the typical progression to build strength and muscle. We think the more weight our body can bear, the more our muscles will grow. But remember, most of our bodies are not firing, as they should. So do you really think adding more resistance is the way to go? Let’s think back on the Squat rack scenario from above.
Instead, what if you added the hip circles to your squat and maybe even lightened the load. What does this do for your body?
By using a combination of free-weight with additional band resistance at the same time, (or maybe even just the band!) you can overload the whole range of motion. Bands increase resistance as they’re stretched, so as you reach the finishing part of the movement you will have to recruit more muscles. If you are simply using free weights or a bar, the greatest part of the load is in the initial portion of the movement only stimulating your muscles for half of the rep. Now all the sudden adding a resistance band, you are stimulating your muscles all the way through the entire exercise.
How to implement this into your next leg workout!
Try this technique the next time you are training leg with your larger movements such as squats (bar bell or dumb bell), leg press and hip bridge. For each set you will complete three phases of the exercise. Complete 3 full sets of each exercise.
Phase One: resistance is provided with both resistance bands and free-weights
Phase Two: Remove Band and use only free- weight
Phase Three: Remove free-weights and use only the band as resistance
Using this technique or simply adding resistance bands to your strength routine is going to CHANGE the way your body feels, moves and grows! So get out of the desk chair and let’s do it!
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