How To Activate Your Glutes Before A Workout!

One of the most common questions that I get asked by girls completing my workouts is what exercises they should do to help target their butt! What you might not know is that virtually every leg exercise, whether that be a squat or lunge or a variation of these, requires some work to be done by your butt muscles.

But how many times have you done a leg (or butt) specific workout only to wake up the next day with sore quads and hamstrings, and your butt feels as though it hasn’t done a thing? Today I’m going to talk about what might be causing this and what you can do to make sure you’re getting a butt-burning workout!

One of the issues that we face in this day and age is that we are becoming more and more sedentary. This essentially means we are spending less time moving around and more time sitting. Helllooooo office jobs! As well as making it much easier for us to gain weight, it can actually cause our gluteals (or “glutes”) to become “underactive”, which essentially means that they are less active than what they should be.

Why is this a problem?

Our glutes are a very important muscle group because they help control a number of movements done by our lower body and also help to maintain good posture. When our glutes are not working like they should be, it can cause other muscles to start taking on extra load, which may cause issues with our posture, muscle pain, and potentially increase our chances of injury. It can also explain why our glutes don’t always pull up as sore after a leg workout!

One way that we can help increase the amount of work done by our glute muscles is by doing glute activation exercises before we start our workout.

As you know, one of the purposes of a warm up is to increase “muscle firing”, which is basically our brain telling our muscles to wake up and get ready to exercise. Glute activation exercises are much like a warm up, except that they’re focussed specifically on waking up your glute muscles.

Here of three exercises that you can use to help you get your glutes firing and allow you to get the most out of your next leg or butt workout!

1. Hip Extension

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Start on all fours, ensuring that your wrists are directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. While keeping your hips as stable as possible, straighten your right leg behind you and lift it as high as you can before slowly lowering it and returning to all fours.

Complete 15 repetitions on one side before switching sides and completing another 15 repetitions.

Tip: While you are trying to extend your leg as high as you can, it is important that you do not arch your back. Remember, you are trying to make sure that your glutes are doing all of the work! You can also make this exercise easier by keeping your right leg bent rather than straightening it.

2. Single Leg Glute Bridge

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Start by lying on your back with your hands by your sides, legs bent and feet positioned firmly on the floor. Carefully lift your right leg off the floor.

While keeping your hips as stable as possible, squeeze your glutes and slowly raise your hips off of the floor, resting on your upper back. Slowly lower your hips and repeat until you have completed 15 repetitions.

Tip: You can make this exercise easier by placing both feet on the ground instead of just one.

3. Clamshell

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Start by lying on your right side with your legs slightly bent and resting on top of each other. You can either rest your head on your arm or prop your head onto your right hand if this is more comfortable.

Keeping your feet together, gently raise your left knee off of your right. When you cannot lift your left knee anymore without separating your feet, slowly lower it to bring your knees together again.
Complete 15 repetitions on one side before switching sides and completing another 15 repetitions.
Complete each of these exercises again before starting your workout and feel the difference!

The key thing to remember when focusing on each of these exercises is technique. Don’t try to push through the reps as fast as you can. Instead focus on activating your glutes correctly. These “warm up” exercises should increase the amount of work done by your glutes during exercises such as squats, lunges and even sprints. Once you have them down pat, you may find that you are able to activate these muscles without you even thinking about it!
Now it’s time for you to get your butt into gear… literally!