Awakening The Sleeping Giant

Posted by Chris Weddell on 7 July 2015

Awakening The Sleeping Giant 

Very common in this day and age are people having weak glutes, or as some professionals like Gary Cook like to call it, glute amnesia. There are many reasons why they get in this state, refer to my article on the importance of hip extension for more on this topic.

There is a great saying that in my point of view rings very true, “weak glutes bad back”….  The glutes are supposed to be one of the strongest muscles in the body. They are very important for squatting and hinging, as well as postural balance. So it is obvious they can’t be neglected or else there can be some serious repercussions later on down the track.

A simple test to see if you can even contract your glutes, is to stand up tall in a symmetrical stance and try contract your glute maximally for 5 seconds , you should feel this predominantly in your glutes not your lower back, hamstrings or quads. This is also a good exercise to try when prolonged standing gives you back pain.

Another great test is for the people who like doing prone holds/planks, try having maximal glute contraction whilst in this position; if you can’t get them contracted at all I suggest you shouldn’t be doing them, as this will make your back very vulnerable.

Plan of attack for waking the glutes:
Firstly you need to look into why they are weak and what could be inhibiting them – this is usually the opposing muscles which are your hip flexors. So flexibility and mobility work is important to gain more range, so the glutes have a chance to work better.

Secondly, go straight into some simple glute activation e.g. – glute bridges (double and single leg), hip thrusts (also double and single leg). Word of caution you don’t need to rush into weighted glute exercises, progress with body weight first.

Thirdly, add some functional integration e.g. – Single leg hip hinge, box step ups (again no need to rush into weighted exercises, progress slowly).      Rep ideas: 3-4 sets of 10 body weight reps as you progress into weight  sets of 5 reps is a good idea.

Enjoy awaking these sleepy giants! You can work the glutes most days, I find it good to work on some form of glute activation every day, and for the people that struggle with this I recommend you work on them every day.

Also remember good strong glutes look good too!