The importance of glute isolation training for athletic performance
The glutes do a lot more than you realise, and by not keeping them active through regular isolation exercises you are sacrificing your posterior strength and potentially making yourself susceptible to knee and back problems.
When I say isolation exercises I’m talking about exercises that focus primarily on the glutes, so although squats and deadlifts do target the glutes somewhat they’re certainly not the best for making them bigger and stronger.
People who regularly train their lower body in the gym think that their gluteal muscles are really strong, unaware that their lifestyle can easily lead them into “gluteal amnesia,” a term used by Dr. Stuart McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo. This particularly affects those with office and desk jobs as long periods of sitting day after day can have a detrimental effect on glute activity.
Glute Activation Exercises
Here is a list of what I deem to be the best bodyweight glute exercises. Don’t think that just because they are bodyweight exercises that they may not be effective, most people will contract their glutes harder during a bodyweight glute exercise than on a 1 rep max squat.
- Glute Bridge – 2 sets of 12 reps with a 5 second hold at the top.
- Bird Dog – 2 sets of 12 reps with a 3 second hold at the top.
- Lying abduction – 2 Sets of 12 reps.
Performing these exercises every other day will be enough to keep your glutes active. If you are looking to get the most out of your performance in sport and resistance training, make this a part of your routine today.
In order to build and make any muscle stronger an adequate resistance is eventually needed. Once you have mastered the bodyweight exercises and have gotten stronger at those you can progress to these more difficult exercises.
- Barbell Glute Bridge – 2 sets of 10-12 reps
- Weighted Bird Dog – 2 sets of 10-12 reps
- Band Standing Abduction- 2 sets of 15-20 reps
- Barbell Hip Thrust – 4 Sets of 4-6 reps
If you want to build stronger glutes and get the most out of your posterior performance you need to start incorporating these movements into your training routine. Stick to the basic bodyweight exercises for at least a month before progressing. Once there you can keep slowly adding weight as you get stronger.