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Short and sweet. Before any workout involving the lower body
you should activate your glute muscles. Here’s why.
Glute activations are a way to wake up the muscles of the
booty before they take on a more strenuous load through exercise, but they’re also
a great hip and glute strengthener. In addition they stabilize the pelvic
muscles and ease low back pain.
Most people have under-active glute muscles which can be
harder for them to fire properly during exercise, therefore, other muscles
compensate and do the lifting during the movement. Continued compensation can
create faulty movement patterns & poor motor mechanics that can cause the
secondary muscles to become overactive and lead to possible injury.
Many pregnant & postpartum women are sedentary which causes the
glutes to become “sleepy” and de-activated.
Whether you call it “sleepy glutes”, “glute amnesia” or
“de-activated glutes” it’s pretty common in pregnant and postpartum women. We
become sedentary from being uncomfortable and tired during our pregnancy or
nursing/pumping and recovering postpartum. As the saying goes, “If you don’t
use it, you lose it” so while sitting to feel more comfortable and to rest
might feel good, constantly doing so can actually turn off our glutes. That
being said, even those who remain activate can still have under-active glutes
due to misalignment of the hips, tight hamstrings, and poor movement patterns.
Glute activations should be done at the beginning of your
workout during the warmup, but they can also be done at the end of a workout
for a booty finisher (or burner). Depending on my client and how they’re
feeling that day, I like to switch up the exercises and alternate between lying
on the ground or standing and either use bodyweight or loop bands for an added
There are a variety of glute activations to choose from, but
today I’m sharing 4 exercises you can do laying down. I should add these
exercises are safe for pregnant women as well as those with diastasis recti. Try
the following series of exercises using your own bodyweight while incorporating
diaphragmatic breathing and core activation. Once you master the movements with
proper breathing and form, then you can add resistance by adding a loop band or
Need a refresher on diaphragmatic breathing and proper core
activations? Read this and this first.
BANDED CLAMSHELLS - Reps/Sets: 2 x 10-15
Loop band position: above knees
Lie on your side with hips/knees/feet stacked
and legs bent at 45-degrees. The heel of your feet should be in line with your glutes.
Take a inhale into your diaphragm and on the
exhale activate your PF & TVA then raise your top knee without shifting
your pelvis or rocking your torso.
Inhale as you lower your knee back down.
TIP: If you find yourself rocking, place your
hand on your glute to hold the pelvis in place. You can also minimize how far you open your knee.
BANDED SIDE-LYING LEG LIFTS - Reps/Sets: 2 x 10-15 per side
Loop band position: above knees is easiest, below knees or above ankles is more challenging
Remain on your side and straighten both legs and keep your hips/knees/and feet.
With a flexed foot, exhale to lengthen the top leg and then raise it as high as you can without breaking form.
Inhale as you lower your leg back down.
TIP 1: Avoid rocking the body or opening up the hips. If you find you are doing so, slow down the exercise and shorten the distance of your leg lift.
TIP 2: Keep toes pointing forward and feet parallel so you avoid rotating the toes or heels. If that occurs you are activating the hip and not the glute.
TIP 3: Lengthen the leg first and then lift. It will help you reducing popping the hips ups.
BANDED FIRE HYDRANTS - Reps/Sets: 2 x 10-15 per side
Loop band position: below knees
Come to a hands and knee position with your
wrists under your shoulders and knees are under your hips. Head is in line with
your spine so slightly tuck the chin.
On the exhale, activate PF & TVA again, and
flex your foot. With a bent knee (90-degrees) kick your leg back and up as if
you were pressing your foot into the ceiling. Squeeze your glute up at the top
and hold for 1-2 counts.
Try to maintain the connection with your inner core unit throughout the movement.
BANDED GLUTE BRIDGES - Reps/Sets: 2 x 10-15 per side
Loop band position: above or below knees
Come down onto your back with your feet sitz
bone apart (narrow stance) and arms extended down at your side.
Exhale, activate the inner core, and press your
heels into the ground as you slowly lift your hips off the ground. Your goal is
to bring your hips up to the point where your knees, hips, and shoulder create
one nice line. Squeeze your glutes at the top.
Inhale and lower back down.
TIP: Try not to flare your ribs. Keep them down rather than popping out.
July 21, 2018
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