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by Daniel Burford June 24, 2018

A firm, tight butt is a beach body staple, and it’s not only attractive, it shows that you’re healthy as well. Glutes are one of the most important muscles to activate in the body and are particularly important for my guys following the Shredded Program to stay in peak condition week after week.

Glute activation burns A LOT of calories and tones you spectacularly. Add a regimen of glute activation exercises to your workout routine and see the results. You’ll become a better runner, jumper, bodybuilder and if you do yoga or Pilates, you’ll even improve your skills here too. Overall, glute activation is key to maximizing the effects of your work-out.

What is Glute Activation and Why is it Important?

Firstly, what is glute activation and why does it matter?

To strengthen your bum muscles, glute activation exercises require a series of warm-ups. Glutes are the biggest muscle in the body, so they play a huge role in how it functions. Glute muscles directly affect hip movement and hip extension—two of the most important things that control our movement.

Glute activation exercises not only improve hip movement and extension, but also your endurance, pulls, squats, jumps and sprints too—which is perfect for all you runners out there.

Glute Activation

Don’t make getting up and sitting down the only exercise that your glutes get. They’ll get groggy and stay out of shape. Poor glute activation is an extremely common problem and leads to a higher probability of injury when exercising, poor running form and lack of tone. They are ultimately less prepared to handle intense exercise and body-building. This isn’t good at all for your body or your mind.

When glutes are out of shape, they transfer stress to other muscle groups, which can definitely wear you out during your work-out session. So, bodybuilders take note!

Before heavy lifting, use glute activation to warm up and avoid injuries to allow for a greater performance. This is why I recommend my Shredded clients to activate glutes on legs and posterior chain days -- better performance, reduced injury.

The Best Glute Activation Exercises

Here are four of the most effective, yet straight forward glute activation exercises that you can do either at the gym or at home.

Glute Bridge

Check out the glute bridge—an easy, versatile move that can be used for activation and glute strength development.

Glute Bridge

So, what are you waiting for? Open up those hips!

You can do this exercise with your own body weight or even add some weights to make it more difficult. Remember—the power is in your glutes.

  • Make sure that your head and shoulders lay flat on your work-out mat.
  • Your arms should also lay flat to side.
  • Then, lift your hips using the power of your glutes.
  • Don’t hyperextend the lower back to get your hips up higher. Make your glutes do all the work. You want them to raise your hips by themselves, which will effectively tone your butt.
  • Hold the position for about 5 seconds.

For more intense activation, slow things down and hold the bridge for a few more seconds at the top.

Posterior Planks

The posterior plank is not only an amazing move for great glute activation, but it’s also a great stretch for your chest and hips too. This is a static stretch that you can do after any work-out. This move is a bit tougher than the glute bridge but have no fear—you definitely got this!

  • Begin the posterior plank seated on the ground with your legs out straight in front of you and your hands placed firmly on the ground behind your butt.
  • To do this exercise right, you need to be as stable as possible.
  • Make sure that your fingertips are pointing toward your butt or out to the side.
  • Try to hold it for as long as possible.

If you're inexperienced with this exercise, it’s normal to feel a bit tired after ten seconds or so. You may also feel a little pain in some areas because of how hard you’re working your lower back, glutes, obliques and hamstrings.

If you're feeling discomfort, try to relax and take deep breaths through the exercise. Focus on driving your strength through your hands and heels. This will help to raise your hips up off the ground toward the ceiling, keeping your legs straight as possible as you can when you bridge up.

However, if you’re a beginner, it’s okay to bend your legs a little to hold the bridge at the top.

  • Your head should be relaxed, and your body should form a nice straight line to achieve the correct form.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds and then lower back down and repeat.

Try to strive for the correct form, but if you’re a beginner just do your best. A perfect posterior plank takes practice to complete successfully.

 

Clams

Clams, or commonly known as "resistance band glute activation exercise",  do some of the best things for your body. They isolate the gluteus medius and work to prevent problems like hip injuries and lower back pain. Plus, they tone your glutes so that’s always great.

If you want a full-tonal workout, use a resistance band glute activation tool to make this exercise’s benefits go even further. The resistance band glute activation tool works your glutes from start to finish,

Strength training is an essential component of glute activation, so use resistance bands to get a full-body workout in the gym, or even from the comfort of your home.  

  • To start, put the band either a bit below or above your knees, then lie on your side propped up on your forearm.
  • Next place your feet together, stacking them one on top of the other.
  • Bend your knees slightly, and then slowly lift the top knee open. Make sure you keep your feet together!

This may be difficult at first, since it’s easy to rock or rotate back and forth when you open that top leg up toward the ceiling. However, don’t give up! Focus your energy on squeezing the glutes to lift the top knee.

 

Monster Steps

Pretend your Big Foot in this glute exercise!

“Monster Steps” are not only fun, but also help you get a nice firm beach bum. In this exercise, place the resistance band glute activation tool around both legs for extra strength training. It’s better for beginners to put the resistance band glute activation tool high just below the knees.

For higher difficulty, put it around your ankles, or even your feet. Step out wide enough so your feet are between hip-width and shoulder-width apart. Then, take your first “monster step” forward and then out to the side with one foot. Next, do the same with the other.

Just make sure that you take HUGE steps—you can even imagine that you’re the Yeti if you have to. Sick of walking forward? Go backwards in the same manner to switch it up.

How to Perform A Glute Activation Test

Ready to test if your glutes are ready? 

A glute activation test is important for both men and women. If you're about to go into some intense lifts, such as 1RM, 5x5 or the cluster sets training in SHREDDED, then glute activation is a must.

The first thing that you need for a glute activation test is a standard treatment table. Ask your trainer if one is available at your gym.

  • To start the glute activation process, lay flat at the end of the table with your knees flexed to 90 degrees.
  • When instructed by your trainer, you’ll perform a bilateral lower extremity bridge, which is essentially raising your hips, for a specific number of repetitions.

After the glute activation test, tell your trainer if you feel any muscle activity in your glutes or hamstrings.

Then, repeat the test again performing a single leg bridge with each lower extremity and tell your trainer if you feel the muscle activity once more.

If the glute activation test is felt in the hamstring, you may need to ramp up your glute activation exercises. This means that your gluteal muscles are performing sub-optimally and require additional training.

Glute Activation Summary

So now you know, the butt makes all the difference. It’s an area that most men and women want to work on for appearance, or for overall fitness and body-building. With glute activation exercises, you can literally change your bum for the better. Whether you want to make it look rounder, slimmer, or fuller, glute activation techniques make this all possible.

When you don’t fire up your glutes, you miss out on working the largest muscle group in your body and burning a ton of calories and fat! You’ll also be more susceptible to injuries when working out or bodybuilding, so do your glutes! 

Glute activation is just one of the tips I have for my guys following Shredded. This provides a complete workout, nutrition and supplementation plan to build muscle and get ripped in under 12 weeks.

Glute activation exercises will make you stronger, fitter and sexier. So start activating those glutes today!

Daniel Burford
Daniel Burford

Daniel Burford is the founder of Hustler Fitness and the SHREDDED Program, a 12 week program that helps men build muscle, lose fat and get shredded. Check it out by clicking here. For training, nutrition & supplement tips, follow Hustler Fitness on Facebook & Instagram.


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