Glute Activation is something I began to research and come across around three years ago now. I always loved training my legs and glutes, however, I found that sometimes it would train my legs a lot more than my glutes. It was a hard balance. After looking through hundreds of fitness videos on workouts, I stumbled across the word ‘Glute Activation’ one day. This day was the day that my glute training days changed.
Why is glute activation so important when trying to grow the glutes?
Glute Activation is a series of exercises that activate and target mainly the muscles inside of the glutes. Sometimes you might stumble across a ‘bum building workout’ which might not include any of these glute activation exercises. Sometimes you might find that the exercises do target your glutes and don’t exactly see what the purpose of glute activation is. Everyone is different. Some may have ‘stubborn glutes’. For myself, I found that I was in this group. There is nothing wrong with having stubborn except for the fact that you have to work so hard to get them fired up of course!
Glute Activation is something to include in your workouts, if you want to fire up those glutes and get those muscles working. The whole point of activation though is to ‘activate’ them, so ideally I choose to do them at the start of my workout so that those glute muscles know I am going to be using them. As well as doing this, having a good mind to muscle connection is key. Once you begin to get used to the glute activation exercises and build on your mind to muscle connection then that is when you begin to add ‘weight’ into these to push yourself further, but ensure you master the basics first.
How can I add ‘weight’ to glute activation excercises?
Adding weight in these exercises could be adding a resistance band to each exercise where possible and/or adding physical weights. The resistance bands range from light to heavy (or even heavier). Starting off with a light band that you can use and find it easy to push out however after so many reps begin to feel the burn in those glutes is a great place to start. When I first began using resistance bands, I had no idea what band I would find too light, too heavy or just right. So instead of taking a gamble on which resistance bands I should go for, I decided to buy a pack that had the ranges of each bands strength. This then allowed me to choose for myself. Everyone is different. What might be light for me, might be strong for you and vice versa so it comes down to find what is best for you.
Across a period of time, I began to ‘step up’ the resistance band levels. I began to experiment that, if I could complete an exercise with a resistance band that took me above 20 reps to even begin feeling a slight tingle in my glutes then simply the band was too light and I proceeded to the next heaviest one. If I then could do under 15 reps of that exercise and feel the fire in the glutes by rep 7 then I knew that this was my correct band to allow me to grow. For myself now, an x-heavy rubber-like resistance band is too light for me and I find that I have to do lots of reps to begin to feel the fire in those glute muscles.
I now use fabric like resistance bands. They are a lot tougher, but again, in order for me to improve and grow those glutes I need to keep pushing myself whether that be increasing the reps or increasing the resistance (using bodyweight at the moment). You can still find lighter ‘weighted’ fabric like resistance bands, but they are just tougher in general due to the material compared to rubber-like ones. I chose to buy the pack to experiment as I was new to this. Remember though, to do what is best for you.
The other way of pushing yourself after you master the basics of glute activation, then you can begin adding physical weight to the workouts. Having ankle weights are a great way of increasing the weight to push yourself and become stronger. Adding dumbbells or just general weight plates are another way to increase the weight on your exercises.
Glute Activation exercises:
Again you can choose to do these exercises with a resistance band or without (bear in mind some are tricky to do with the band).
Glute Bridges – 3 sets x 10 – 15 reps
Hip Thrusts – 3 sets x 10 – 15 reps
Side/Band monster walks – 3 sets x 10 reps each side
Donkey Kickbacks – 3 sets 10 – 15 reps each side
Crossed Hip Thrusts – 3 sets x 10 – 15 reps
Fire Hydrants – 3 sets x 10 – 15 reps
Posterior Plank – 3 sets 10 – 15 reps each side
Clams – 3 sets 10 – 15 reps each side
Frog pumps – 3 sets 10 – 15 reps each side
*Above are some general sets/reps that I do, that I find that work well for me. If you are new to this, try to aim for these but do not worry if you are not able to complete all the sets and reps. As long as you keep trying to improve yourself by reaching these or going beyond after each workout session then that is key.
Remember to squeeze/contract those glute muscles through each rep you do. Having that mind to muscle connection whilst doing the exercises will allow you to perform to the best of your ability.
Why do my glutes hurt for days after doing these glute workouts?
It is very important to warm up before you complete these exercises and of course cool down. This can otherwise lead to sore muscles. Soreness is said to be the result of muscle tissue breakdown, often occurring after a workout session. Doing a workout after not doing one for such time, can cause a shock to the body, resulting in tissue breakdown, finally leading to those aching glute muscles. To help with the soreness, we need to give our bodies a good amount of supplements like proteins and vitamins. This allows for the ‘muscle to repair’ and form new muscle tissue. If you feel in pain however, in your lower back or joints, etc then you should not continue carrying on the workouts and should seek some medical help.
Is glute activation necessary?
It allows you to grow your glutes as well as allowing them to function properly. It is shown to have other benefits such as preventing pain in the lower back, improving your back posture. Making your glute muscles stronger is shown to potentially decrease the risk of injury.