How to Effectively Target your Glutes
Karl from Vitruvian Health gives us a quick run down on how to best target the muscles in our glutes.
How can you target a muscle if you can’t actually feel it? That’s the problem many people have with targeting the glutes.
There are three main things to think about:
- The intention of the muscle;
- The mobility of the muscle;
- The stability of the muscle.
When you have tight muscles, work on improving your stability. This will aid the muscle’s mobility, improving its range of movement. In turn, this also provides a greater stretch in the muscle to increase its work.
In order to effectively target any muscle, we need to look at the movement point where we can get the greatest stretch and a peak contraction. For the glutes, we need to hit the muscle at two or three different angles.
We recommend activation exercises to target glutes which will create more awareness around the muscle itself. Activation exercises increase blood flow to your muscles, in turn improving flexibility and range of movement. A low level of applied resistance will also allow for greater muscle control. Examples of such activation exercises can be banded abductions, side clams and glute bridges (pictured below). These combined with some low cable attachment hip extensions or single leg aeroplanes (both of which improve stability) will provide greater control of the muscle and hence a greater contraction in the end result.
The main function of the gluteus maximus is to extend and laterally rotate the hip joint. Furthermore, the upper fibers can abduct (move away from the midline) the hip whereas the lower fibers can adduct (move towards the midline) the hip.
Today, we’ll talk about the exercises where the knees are pushed out and hips are extended.
Barbell hip extension
This is a great exercise for working from a flexed position into an extended position. It begins in a seated position, with your back against a bench and a barbell across your hips. The movement involves using your glutes to push the bar up towards the ceiling, focussing on working your glutes over your quads.
Barbell Romanian deadlift
This exercise works the other way around – from an extended position to flexed position, creating a stretch in your hamstrings and glutes. It begins by clutching the bar in a standing position, and pulling it up when you stand up straight.
The pairing of these two exercises creates a nice ‘A series’ of 6 – 8 reps, with a tempo of 4/2/1/0 (meaning 4 seconds up, 2 seconds of pause at the top, 1 second down and no pause at the bottom).
The ‘B series’ of this workout would work the hamstrings; they are the accessory to glutes so we need to train them as well. An example would be a dorsiflexed single leg lying hamstring curl (using the cable machine with feet flexed towards the front of your body) and a single leg rear foot elevated bulgarian split squat performing 10 – 12 reps.
As a finisher, your ‘C series’ can consist of glute focused back extension where working from the 45 degree angle.
This article was provided by Vitruvian Health.