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How to Activate Glutes: 3 Exercises for Glute Activation

Knowing how to activate glutes is essential for athletic performance and everyday activities.  

Weak glutes can occur for several reasons; the primary cause is an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. With many people sitting down for large portions of their day, glute activation is reduced, and these muscles become weaker than they should be. For more active people, reduced glute strength and poor activation can result from an over-reliance on other muscles during athletic or everyday movements. For these reasons, it is important to learn how to how to activate your glutes, build strength in these muscles and establish a mind-muscle connection so they can fully activate when needed.

The Importance of Knowing How to Activate Glutes

Learning how to activate glutes is the first step to strengthening your muscles and improving overall movement. Glute muscles play a central role in nearly every bodily movement. They not only help to move our legs but stabilise our pelvis and spine when in a single-legged position. Tight and weak glutes are also a significant factor contributing to lower back discomfort; as such, strong and well-functioning glutes are a key part of a happy and healthy body.

Without your glutes firing correctly, you may notice a few issues, including: 

  • Calf pain or tightness
  • Issues with pelvic alignment when on one foot
  • Knees drifting inwards when running or in squatting positions
  • The body favouring a particular side when walking or running
  • Poor glute function can also lead to further issues in the hip, knee, foot, calf and back.

How to Activate Your Glutes

If you find yourself asking, "how to activate my glutes?" there are a number of methods you can use to activate and strengthen these muscles. When working with a qualified physiotherapist, your therapist will be able to choose certain tailored exercises to improve your glute activation and strength. Here are a few of the easiest, most effective glute activation exercises that we prescribe to our clients:

Glute Activation Exercises

If you're frantically Googling 'How to activate my glutes at home', we've got you covered. All you will need for the following exercises is a resistance band.

Clam Exercises

If you are looking to activate your glute muscles more regularly, clams are going to become your bread and butter. Clams can be done anywhere and require minimal equipment.

  1. Loop a resistance band around your lower thighs, just above your knees.
  2. Next, lie down on your side with your hips stacked and knees bent slightly in front of you. Your feet should be together and in line with your glutes.
  3. Squeeze your glutes and slowly drive your top knee away from the ground, pushing up against the resistance band. Once you reach the top of your range, slowly bring your knee back to the starting position.
  4. Complete 10 repetitions on each side.

Resistance Band Crab Walk

Another great exercise for engaging the glutes with a resistance band is the crab walk: 

  1. Loop a resistance band on your lower thigh, just above your knee.
  2. Start by standing up with your feet hip-distance apart.
  3. Move into a half squat position with your knees in line with your toes. Your back should be in a comfortable upright position.
  4. Maintaining this position and facing forward, keep your left foot planted and step your right foot out away from the side of your body, so it extends beyond the width of your shoulder.
  5. After this, step your left foot towards your body, so your feet return to their original hip distance width.
  6. Complete 10 reps on each side. 

Glute Bridge

  1. With a resistance band looped just above your knees, lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet firmly on the ground. Rest your arms by your side and ensure your feet are a hip-distance apart.
  2. Press your feet into the ground, squeeze your glutes and drive your hip up into the air until your body is in a straight line from knee to head.
  3. In this top position, maintain the tension in your glutes and slowly lower your hips back to the starting position.

Throughout this movement, your knees may want to roll in; it is important to focus on squeezing your glutes and driving your knees out against the resistance band. This will give you a nice burn and is an awesome exercise for activating your glutes and developing strength in your hips.

Work with a Qualified Physiotherapist

Working with a qualified physiotherapist, you'll get personalised exercises and guidelines on how to build long-term strength in your glutes. Having a physio on-side also means having an expert to coach you through the correct form for each exercise to ensure you're getting the most out of the exercise.

If you are looking for a qualified physiotherapist who can help with Sports Injury Treatment in Townsville, look no further than NQ physio. Our friendly team have a wealth of experience in sports physiotherapy and assisting athletes to perform at their best. Get in contact with us today to book an appointment with Townsville's leading team of physios at NQ Physio Solutions.

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