How To Activate Your Glutes Before A Workout

Did you know that the glutes are the largest muscle group in the body? By switching on this powerful, multi-layer muscle group you can increase the effectiveness of your leg workouts! 

The glutes are essential in holding your body upright and helping you to move throughout the day. 

For those working in an office, it’s highly likely that you also sit for a lot of the day. When you’re sitting, the glutes ‘go to sleep’, and this means that it’s so important to activate them before doing glute exercises. 

Where are the glute muscles?

The glute muscles form the shape of the buttocks. There are three major glute muscles and six deep muscles that help to support and stabilise the hip joint. 

When we work out, we focus on the three upper layers of muscle — the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus. 

These muscles are used to move the thigh forward, back, or in rotation. You use them when you walk, climb stairs, run or do anything else with your legs!

What does it mean to activate my glutes?

Glute activation is a series of warm up exercises that you can do before beginning leg exercises to ‘switch on’ the muscles you intend to recruit during your workout. 

Using your body weight or resistance bands, you spark the mind-muscle connection. This encourages activation of the correct muscle groups. 

Why is glute activation so important?

If you don’t activate your glutes before a workout, your glutes might not fire up correctly after being dormant for most of the day. When this happens, your body might use a more dominant muscle to execute the movement. 

In the long term, if these incorrect muscle activation patterns continue it can lead to muscle imbalances or injury. 

Weak glutes can also contribute to poor posture, trouble with balance and lower back pain. 

Even if you exercise regularly, glute activation is still so important! When you spend time sitting in the car, at work, or at home, these muscles need to be fired up before they will work effectively. 

How do I activate my glutes?

Foam rolling the glutes and hip area before starting your workout can help to increase blood flow to the area and break up the muscle fascia so the glutes can move freely during exercise. 

Glute activation exercises like clams, lateral band walking and glute bridges can also help to isolate and activate the glute muscles in preparation for a workout. 

How do I know if my glutes are activated?

If your glutes are activated, you should be able to feel that they are contracting. 

When you start doing exercises like squats you may feel more of the load being carried by your quads, hamstrings or lower back. 

When your glutes are active, you should feel them working during deadlifts, step-ups or squats, along with the hamstrings and quads. If you can only feel the hamstrings or quads, activating the glutes during your warm up will help to balance out muscle recruitment for a given exercise. 

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