It’s a term most of us have heard of but can we truthfully hold our hands up and say what glute activation is? Probably not, but don’t worry, we’ve got you. This article isn’t just for those guilty of Netflix marathons slumped on your derriere (as most of us are), glute activation is for all and you might not even be aware you need it. Keep on reading for our Top 4 Benefits of Glute Activation!
1. Better overall performance
Activating your glutes regularly, and especially before a lower body workout can really optimise your performance in the gym, after all, your gluteals are the largest and strongest muscles in your body.
Your glutes are responsible for generating a tremendous amount of power – power that can be translated into various activities such as sprinting, jumping and cycling. It doesn’t stop there! Performing glute activating exercises and even foam rolling and pressure pointing (a tennis ball works great) before a workout will greatly improve your ability to squat and deadlift. Your body also works in something called a ‘kinetic-chain’, a notion that different joints and muscles affect one another’s movements throughout the body. Surprisingly, your glutes work in tandem with your opposite shoulder; for example, your right glute supports your left shoulder and vice versa, and therefore activating your glutes doesn’t just aid your lower body movements, but your upper body ones, as well.
2. Postural benefits
Weak glutes are the predominant cause of poor posture. Glutes that ‘forget’ how to ‘fire’ or activate properly contribute to the most commonly observed postural deviations: swayback and kyphosis-lordosis. Strengthen them in the gym or at home by performing regular exercises such as glute bridges, kick-outs and kickbacks, as well as foam rolling to knead out knotted, overused or unevenly used muscles.
3. Fat loss
For every pound of muscle you build, your body will burn an extra 50 calories per day. So, given that your glutes and hamstrings are two of the largest muscle groups in your body, their contribution to fat loss must not be underestimated. Try incorporating a variety of squats and to build muscle, improve functionality and torch fat and your body will continue burning calories for you 24 – 48 hours after your workout has finished.
4. Injury prevention
There’s no other reason needed to start activating your glutes than this one, in my opinion. Injuries are the bane of anyone’s life that enjoys exercising, training or playing sport regularly. Glutes support your lower back, and when your glutes aren’t strong enough to extend your hip correctly, other muscles will try and take over to compensate for their weakness. Over time these over-compensating muscles will become extremely stressed and likely begin to cause you severe pain. Your gluteal muscles also stabilize your hips, thus any weakness here can have a negative effect on the alignment of your lower body. This may leave you vulnerable to injuries such as Achilles tendonitis, ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) sprains, shin splints and other issues.
We hope to have enlightened you as to the importance of glute activation. Training isn’t all about beating PB’s and gaining muscle; it’s about looking after your body for the long haul too. You’ve got the reasons to get glute active, so definitely consider adding a few simple daily exercises to help you avoid pain later in life. Had you experienced any of the postural or misalignment issues mentioned above, how did you overcome them? Let us know below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram! (Want to see a variety of other exercises that could help you? Then check out these on: pilates, circuit training, hip flexors, hamstring stretches and joint strengthening designed to switch your FIT ON!)