Let's Talk Glutes

Some of you may feel this article is only for the ladies. I’m here to tell you it most certainly is NOT! Ask any female how she feels about a guy with flat-ass syndrome. I’d bet money she’d probably laugh at a man whose ass bares a remarkable resemblance to a ruler, especially if he has any upper body development. This blog will benefit both men and women.
Let’s start by discussing the role of glutes in various sports. Since the glutes are a powerful hip extensor, they are vital for pretty much any sport which requires movement of the lower body. For example in sprinting, glutes become incredibly important as they are used to push the body off the ground and forward.
In other running sports such as: football, basketball, rugby, soccer, and tennis the glutei maximi are important for injury prevention. The glutei maximi function as hip extensors, hip abductors, and hip external rotation. During an ACL injury, the femur will adduct and internally rotate. Since the glutes resist this movement, they are important for injury prevention. It’s also important to remember that ACL injuries don’t only occur during playing sports. Accidents happen. According to Rick Kaselj, there are over 200,000 ACL related injuries per year in the US. That’s a fair amount.
I would assume for most ladies that having a rounder, more robust ass, is usually one of the main goals. I’ve seen females doing all sorts of stuff: clam shells, endless lunges, endless squats etc. There are no problems with the above exercises. Except when you do them with bodyweight only, for months on end, and expect new results. Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
So if you want to make your ass more muscular and defined you will need to add muscle to your glutei maximi. In order to add muscle you need to have progressive overload in your programming. If your program consists of 3 sets of 20 reps of squats and leg curls, you need to find a better program or a better coach/trainer. You need to add resistance in your program so that your body will adapt to the new stresses placed upon it. I have posted video’s and links to other videos of ladies lifting pretty heavy weight and not looking disgusting.
I have discussed hip thrusts before. Bret Contreras was talking about a new glute exercise he has named the American Thrust. If that made you laugh, you are not alone. Check out the video at the end of this post. I will give this variation a shot at some point this week. If it’s anything like the hip thrust it’s going to be an absolutely awesome glute exercise.
I just spent my weekend at Mike Robertson’s Bulletproofing Your Client’s Low Back and Knee seminar. He really hammered home the point about how important glutes are. Most people don’t use their glutes and hamstrings in exercises where they ought to be used. Exercises such as pull-throughs, plate squats and goblet squats are great beginner exercises for the glutes. I unfortunately can’t find any decent clips of either plate squats or goblet squats.
Mike also spoke about energy leaks. This is when you have muscles that aren’t firing while you perform a lift, you are leaving strength and muscle gain on the table. For instance in the deadlift, if you aren’t recruiting your glutes and hams, you will place a lot of the stress on the spinal erectors. So if your deadlift was 500lbs, you might be able to add 50+ pounds to your deads if you brought your glutes and hamstrings into the equation. Big strong glutes will also help you build strength and bring your pelvis into proper alignment.
For people who want a strong core, the glutes are also important. Although the glutes aren’t technically a part of the core, they still play a huge part in developing core strength. Contracting your glutes during exercises like bridges will help keep your pelvis more in a neutral position, and place more stress on your external obliques rather than lumbar spine.
If you are wondering how to contract your glutes I have a quick tip. Pretend you are trying to clench a pencil in between your butt cheeks. That’s contracting your glutes…

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