Time to activate those glutes!
"Glute Activation" is a term heard regularly among personal trainers and their clients. We all perform glute activating warmup exercises. Why the emphasis on glute activation?
Today’s lifestyle requires that more and more people sit at a desk, computer, or some machine for long hours. And those glutes (the muscles we sit on) get lazy, and when asked to work, they may not be ready for the task. If not ready, nearby muscles (in lower back, quads and hamstrings) will kick in to help us do the task. When this happens, bad things start to happen to muscle interactions. Pain (in hips, knees, lower back) will eventually set in as your body continues to work inappropriate muscles, even as we walk or run. Weak glutes actually cause your hips to tilt forward contributing to lower back discomfort and it pushes the lower abdomen outward. To lose the pooch, strengthen the glutes!
Activating your glutes means first loosening up tight muscles by foam rolling for a few minutes prior to getting them activated, like the photo shown here.
Small bands (called mini bands, versa loops etc.) worn around the legs while performing certain exercises are a great way to activate the glutes.
The exercises are easy to learn, and various levels of resistance bands allow everyone to get through a set. As you progress, you can go up to a more difficult level band. Daily practice is the key to success. You can easily do 5 minutes of band work a few times during your work day. Best of all, a set of bands cost around $5.00 and are readily available.
Once warmed up, strengthening exercises such as a glute bridge, squats, lunges and many others can follow for a full leg workout. BONUS: Since glutes are one of the biggest muscle groups, working them is a top calorie burner!