Any athlete who has been to Adrenaline for performance enhancement training can tell you there’s a heavy dose of glute work in just about every training session. Hip thrusts, band hip abductions and glute bridges are just a few of many examples of what you might see athletes performing. On the flip side, new athletes usually have a look of absolute confusion or shock when we show them how to do a hip thrust. “I have to do what!!?? Why???”. The gluteus maximus is the single largest muscle in our body, but the majority of people do not use them correctly or know how to activate their muscle group known collectively as the glutes. It is also critical when it comes to athletic performance.
So why do we put so much emphasis on glute training? First and foremost, strong glutes directly help to improve posture. All of the athletes we train, and certainly a great number of adults we train, are stuck at a desk or driving the majority of the day. This is a recipe for tight hip flexors, over stretched weak hip extensors and dysfunctional glute activation. All of this contributes to poor posture and associated chronic low back pain. By strengthening the glutes in conjunction with stretching the hip flexors, we can pull the pelvis back alleviating the common issues caused by a constant anterior (front) pelvic tilt. Second, and probably most importantly, is injury prevention. I previously hit on the importance of glutes and how they collectively support the low back, but lets talk about how it can affect the lower body. The glutes are hip stabilizers as well, which means when weak, can completely screw up our lower body alignment. If we don’t have proper alignment from the hips to the knees, this can make us more prone to ACL sprains, iliotibial band syndrome, tendonitis, etc. This will obviously trickle down the kinetic chain to our lower legs and ankles. Injuries such as Achilles ruptures, medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints), even ankle sprains can become more likely due to improper alignment stemming at the hips and weak glutes. Lastly, we have their contribution to athletic performance. As the title suggests, our gluteal muscles are collectively the strongest muscles in the body. They are able to produce massive amounts of force which is directly related to how fast we can run and how high we can jump. The more powerful we are with hip extension, the more we can propel our bodies forward, laterally, and vertically.
It should be clear that training and strengthening our glutes is a critical component of all protocols we implement at Adrenaline, whether it is an athlete with a goal of increasing their vertical jump and 40 yard dash, or an adult with the goal of living a more active lifestyle. Hopefully, this helps answer the question I know so many people have either asked, or are thinking: Why do we train the glutes so damn much?
Part two will go into some specific exercises, why we use them, who they are for and how to properly execute.