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Activation exercises focus on activating the right muscles for better training stimulus and, most importantly, for more gains. Glute activation exercises are basically warm up exercises specifically for the glutes.
Glutes Not Activating
Most of us sit all day and because of this our glutes tend to “fall asleep” and become weak. This leads to them not activating when they should be. Other muscles will then take on the extra load when the glutes are not working properly. This can lead to muscle imbalances, problems with posture, and risk of injury.
Activation exercises must be completed to ensure that the right muscles are turned on so that they fire optimally.
When I started powerlifting, my glutes would not fire when doing squats and deadlifts. This led to pain in my back and hip. My progress stalled and I could not increase the weight in my lifts. Once I realized that my glute muscles were not firing, I started to do glute activation exercises prior to my lifts and ta-da, the pain was gone and new PRs (personal records) were being hit!
Glute Activation Exercises
Here are 5 glute activation exercises to try:
- Glute Bridge
Lie on your back with knees bent, heels digging into the floor, and hands on the floor for stability. Raise glutes up and squeeze glutes, then bring glutes back to the floor. Repeat for 2 sets of 8-10 reps.
- Side Clam
Lie on your side with knees bent and heels together. Raise knees while keeping heels together. Bring raised knee back together with other knee. Repeat for 2 sets of 8-10 reps on each side.
- Banded squats
Using Resistance Loop Bands placed just below the knee, keep feet shoulder width apart, bend at the hips and sit back. Ensure that the knees do not cave inwards and are always pushed outwards. Stand back up. Repeat for 2 sets of 8-10 reps.
- Banded Side Lunges
Using Resistance Loop Bands placed just below the knee, with a slight bend of the knee, step out to the side with one foot followed by the other foot. Repeat for 6-8 side lunges in one direction, then repeat in the opposite direction. Do 2 sets of each.
- Banded Kick Backs
Using Resistance Loop Bands placed at your ankles, kick one leg back, hold and squeeze glutes. Bring leg back to standing position. Repeat, alternating legs, for 2 sets of 6-8 reps on each leg.
Try these out on your next leg day and watch progress take off!