If you're like many people today, you spend more time sitting than standing or walking on any given day. With office jobs on the rise (and all those good TV shows), you likely spend a good deal of time on your glutes.
To counteract all that sitting, you want to ensure your glutes are in good condition. In addition, glutes are essential to the safety and efficacy of any exercise you engage in. By activating your weak glutes during every workout, you can prevent injuries and get the most out of every movement.
What Are Glutes?
Before we get into glute strengthening exercises, let's establish which muscles they are.
Glutes are the common name for the three interconnected gluteal muscles—gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.
When you hear glutes, you probably think about the gluteus maximus. It’s the largest and most external of the muscles, making up most of the butt and hip area.
The gluteus maximus's primary function is to extend and rotate the thigh outwards, helping you run and stand.
While not as large as the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius is still integral to your hip area.
It's a fan-shaped muscle partially covered by the gluteus maximus that sits outside your pelvis. It's a pivotal muscle to your hip and pelvis stability.
As the name suggests, this is the smallest of the three muscles. It’s located directly beneath the medius.
The gluteus minimus helps with the functions of the other two muscles and is a hip stabilizer and abductor.
Why Are Glutes Important for Exercise?
All of the glutes are responsible for a lot of your body’s movement and stability and are located right around where your spine begins.
That's why glutes activation is essential for your total body health during workouts.
Neglecting to activate your glutes means you will put a lot of strain on your lower back, spine, and knees—all areas prone to injury.
Beyond just avoiding injury, though, you won’t be fulfilling your body’s potential when you ignore your glutes.
How To Strengthen Your Glutes
It's all well and good to talk about strong glutes, but there is a significant roadblock.
If any of your muscles are weak, others will often compensate for that by picking up the slack. In this case, it’s usually your lower back.
This overcompensation just makes your glutes weaker and hurts your lower back.
Unfortunately, this can be a hard habit to break. It's easier to automatically rely on the muscles already handling most of the workload. Especially when they're ones you don't usually consciously engage.
That’s why the first step to making sure your glutes are activated during a workout is to perform dedicated exercises to ensure they’re up to the task.
For your glueteus maximus
As the largest muscle in the group and the one you’re sitting on, pay special attention to these exercises.
Use a balance board for more effective (and challenging) squats.
For your glueteus medius
These exercises can help reduce pain and stiffness in your hip area.
Lie on your back. Put your arms along your body, bend your knees, and use your feet to press your hips upwards. Squeeze your glutes as you hold for a few seconds, then lower.
Squats with resistance
Loop resistance bands around your knees and perform squats while pressing outwards.
For your gluteus minimus
They’re small but mighty! These exercises will fire up your gluteus minimus.
Lying hip abductions
Lie on your side, legs straight, upper body supported by your forearms. Using your hip muscles, raise your upper leg in a scissor motion and repeat.
Start in a tabletop position on the floor. (Use a yoga foam mat for additional comfort.) Keeping the rest of your body still, move one knee toward your shoulder with the leg bent. Hold for a second, return to the start, and repeat on the other side.
Never Skip Glute Day
Like your core, your glutes are integral to posture and safe exercise. If your glutes are weak, you will experience pain, tension, and inflexibility in your hips, legs, and lower back.
Check out our range of products to help you engage your glutes for more effective exercise!