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The Perfect Posterior… How to get Glutes.

The glutes are officially in fashion. Fitness obsessed instagram accounts have uploaded plump rear ends more than smoothies in glass jars by a ratio of 2:1. Gone are the days of building the biceps and triceps to show off in the nightclub; now it’s all about the derriere on a sunny sunday morning walk.

From a musculoskeletal health standpoint, research has shown that the strength of the gluteal muscles can be involved in a number of common issues including patella femoral syndrome, sciatica, piriformus syndrome and lower back pain.

Functionally, the gluteal muscles are involved in stabilising the hip joint and pelvic girdle to aid in the transmission of force from the lower to the upper body, as well as powerfully extending the hips in athletic movements. Whenever sport or recreational activity you partaken in, whether surfing, golf or running, optimising gluteal strength and function will certainly improve your performance and reduce the risk of injury.

If you want to put a little more power in your engine, try these exercises. These are my “go to” exercises when starting to increase the activation and strength of the hip extensors. I believe strengthening the glutes in this way should be a staple exercise in anyone’s regular strength training routine.

Hip extensions on bench

Rest the shoulder blades and head on a low bench. Align the feet so they are square, placed under the knees and in line with the hips. Press out laterally against a looped towel or bands the activate the hip abductors. Squeeze the glute muscles and push the hips up into the air. At the top of the hip extension, thrust the hips forward using the glutes and don’t hyperextend the back.

Level: Rehab/Rehab or Beginner

Suggested Sets and Reps: 3 x 10-15

Barbell hip thrusts

A barbell hip thrust is similar to the above exercise, however it is now a loaded exercise. Use a rolled mat around the barbell and align the barbell across the front of the hips. Use your arms to push the barbell into the thighs to stabilise the bar, then squeeze the gluts and push the barbell into the air. Once again, it is important the thrust the hips using the gluteal muscles and not hyperextending the bar in the top position. Level: Appropriate for beginner, intermediate or advanced trainer.

Suggested Sets and Reps: 4 x 8-12

Goblet Squat with bands

The idea of the goblet squat is to achieve an upright spine position and squat in such a way to recruit the gluteal as best as possible in a squatting exercise. Use plate to elevate the heels off the ground about 3cm. Use an elastic band around the knees the help the hip adductors and external rotators become active. Imagine sitting down a seat behind you and guide the knees out using the hip muscles. Maintain an upside torso position, brace the abdominal muscles and squeeze the glute muscles to come out of the squat. Do not let the knees come inside the line of the toes at any point of the exercise.

Level: Rehab/Rehab or Beginner

Suggested Sets and Reps: 3 x 10-15

Barbell Sumo Deadlift

The Barbell Sumo Deadlift is an excellent alternative to the traditional deadlift as it loads the gluts more so than the hamstrings. Stand in a sumo stance, push the hips back, lean out over the barbell and hold it with the hands in between the knees as shown. Brace the back and squeeze the bar off the ground, using the hips and the legs to do so. To lower the bar, push the hips back and lean out over the bar keeping the back straight in a controlled fashion.

Level: Intermediate to Advanced Trainer

Suggested Sets and Reps: 5 x 5-10

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