A while ago, I read an article about “the plague of the mediocre athlete”: no glutes. It’s a pretty good read, and although I don’t agree with everything in it, the general message rings true. Our gluteals are dead. They’ve become inactive from too much sitting. We need to wake them up again, since even our most basic movements require their use. Most of us are walking or moving around every day without using our glutes. How did this happen? What’s wrong with our bodies? How do we fix it? If we do all the right things, we might just regain the ability to tap into the power of our glutes again. As a bonus, this would boost our speed and athletic ability, enabling our hips to work the way they should. And for the ladies, I think you’ll be happy with the results once you’ve got your glutes fired up.
No matter how active we think we are, the epidemic of sitting continues to plague humanity. Sitting has tightened some vital areas in our body and inhibits our ability to squat and deadlift properly. Refer to Mark’s article on key stretches to do and do them! There’s some recent news comparing sitting to smoking and the adverse health effects are becoming quite apparent. The more we sit, with our muscles and hip joints crammed into a confined space, the more we are skewing them to move (and stay) a certain way. Not to scare anybody, but hip impingement does happen, so let’s try to prevent that type of damage down the road.
I did some reading and experimenting to find some of the best ways to mobilize the hip joint and get the glutes firing the way they should. I’ve prepared a bit of a guide below. After about half a year of consistently working on the following things at least a bit each week, I was able to start feeling my glutes while running and get some good hip drive into my deadlift, squats and lunges. It takes time, but it’s completely worth it to wake up a part of your body that should be powering the majority of your movements throughout the day. Now I’m not a big fan of the typical isolation splits body builder’s use according to the days of the week, but if there’s one muscle group that’s worth of having an entire weekday dedicated to it, it’s the gluteals. Spend one day a week on your glutes and watch how it affects the rest of your life.
Start with this quick warmup (it takes less than 10 minutes) :
and then this familiar stretch (if you’ve got a band):
Build a routine according to this wonderful article. It discusses some anatomical details that I won’t go into here, but if you just want the exercises, scroll down to where is says Phase One.
No need to follow it to the tee if you don’t want to. Just pick the exercises according to the equipment you have and experiment around to see what gets your glutes fired up. The best thing to do is to try hitting your glutes according to the different ways your hips would move. The article sets up a good progression of body weight exercises towards more advanced weighted ones. The only other exercises I would recommend would be Cross Band Walks and Single Leg Deadlifts.
A final word, this is about building a neural connection that’s been deadened by sitting for more than 50% of your life. Try to squeeze those cheeks. Hard. Now that I’ve sat for long enough writing this, it’s time for me to get off my ass.