What’s the largest muscle in the body? The Gluteus maximus. Next time that comes up in trivia you will have been thankful you read this blog. In recent years the glutes have become a major point of interest in aesthetics (particularly amongst the female population) but they are so much more than just aesthetics. Continuing on with this modern obsession with the glutes is this concept of glute activation, which gets thrown around a lot nowadays. But what is it, why should we do it, why do some people not like Harry Potter? These are all questions I hope to answer (except for the last one – I’ll never understand that).
Why do we do it?
Glute activation could be loosely considered any warmup exercises that aim to switch on the muscle of the gluteal region (glute max, med, min). The glutes play a major role in most of our everyday movements as well as training related (standing up straight, walking, running, sprinting, jumping, squatting, deadlifting – even upper body movements like bench pressing and overhead pressing).
Who needs it?
Personally, I think it should have a place in most people’s training – but some need it more than others.
If you have a job where you find yourself sitting most of the day then this, you need it. When you sit all day, your hip is in hip flexion, the main action of the glutes is to extend the hips – the exact opposite of this. This can even lead to the glutes becoming dormant and inactive, the BIGGEST MUSCLE IN YOUR BODY inactive – that’s a recipe for disaster (poor posture, lower back pain, knee pain).
Glute activation has high relevance for athletes who need to run, sprint, jump, change direction efficiently. All of which the glutes play a major role in. Strong and active glutes are therefore going to play a role in injury prevention, as there is such a high demand for hip mobility and stability during sport where they must perform many of the above movements quickly and efficiently. Weak and inactive glutes is going to place extra unnecessary pressure on areas less capable of handling these kinds of loads (knees and lower back most common)
The general lifters
Improved activation of the glutes is going to aid efficient movement particularly in the traditional lower body lifts (squatting, deadlifting, lunging etc.). Performing these exercises safely and efficiently is going to lead to improved results whatever your goals may be.
Ok you’ve got me – what should I do?
Find out what you like and what you feel best doing. My 3 favourites are the following, but there are heaps of exercises to target the glutes so play around with it and find what works.