So you want a sexy, strong butt…because let’s face it…who doesn’t!?!
Whether you just want your butt to look firm and toned or you want to lift more, run faster or even PREVENT INJURY, glute activation is a MUST.
And it can be done quickly BEFORE you workout so you get even more out of all of those squats, lunges and deadlifts.
Because while squats, lunges and deadlifts are AMAZING compound exercises, if your glutes aren’t ALREADY activated, they won’t work properly during those moves.
Which can not only lead to injury, but also cause your quads and legs to change while your glutes stay the same.
So if you want to get the most out of your workouts, you’ve got to activate your glutes BEFORE.
(And P.S. Guys – this applies to you too. If you want to prevent low back, hip and knee pain, run faster, and lift more, you have to activate those glutes…Plus I won’t lie…Women like a nice backside. 😉 haha)
Below are 3 moves you can do before your lower body workouts to make sure your glutes are activating and firing.
These moves are all BODYWEIGHT because with bodyweight we have the ability to contract our glutes harder and establish the mind-body connection.
Too often we add weight to try to get the glutes to work, but then they stop firing. Bodyweight and light resistance for higher reps is KEY to getting them activated and pumped.
Using these 3 moves you can also unlock your hips to improve hip extension and work all 3 gluteal muscles.
It is important that your glute activation ALSO works on hip extension because tight hips can not only lead to pain and injury, but they can keep your glutes from working proper and cause that LOWER BELLY POOCH!
Use these 3 moves and get your glutes working properly before your workout for a strong and sexy butt!
3 Moves To Activate Your Glutes Before You Workout
Bench 2-Way Leg Swings:
This move works all three gluteal muscles, opens up your hips AND even helps you build core stability.
It is the perfect move if you can literally only do one thing that day to activate your glutes and core. This move alone will get you ready to feel your glutes during your workout!
To do the Bench 2-Way Leg Swings, place one knee and both hands on a bench with your knee under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Your other leg will be off to the side of the bench hanging straight down to the ground.
Keeping your arms straight, brace your core and then lift the leg off the bench straight up to the side. Keep the leg straight as you lift and don’t bend your elbows or lean away to try to lift higher. Squeeze your glute to lift the leg up and out to the side. Try to get it as straight out to the side as possible. Feel the outside of your hip working.
Lower back down and then lift the same leg straight back toward the wall behind your. Again, squeeze your glute to lift your leg straight out behind you and extend your hip. Keep your core engaged and do not hyperextend your low back or rotate your hips open just to kick the leg up higher as you lift it back behind you.
Lower back down and repeat the lifts on the same side. Do not bend your arms or really rock away to get the leg up higher. You want to move from the hip and use your glute.
Do not just swing the leg, but focus on FEELING your glute working. Complete all reps on one side before switching. Move quickly between the two lifts.
Side Balance Leg Raise:
This is the perfect way to activate your hip stabilizers aka your gluteus medius and minimus to prevent pain and injury AND even make sure your gluteus maximus engages during your workout! PLUS, this move will work your core and even your shoulders!
To do the Side Balance Leg Raise, start on one knee with your other leg out straight to the side. Then place your hand down on the outside of your knee so you are in a side balance position. Your hand should be under your shoulder while your knee will be just slightly below your hip. You want to keep your chest open and not rotate toward the ground.
Then lift your top straight leg up toward the ceiling. Lift the leg as close to parallel to the ground as you can and then lower back down. Do not swing your entire body to lift the leg. Keep your core tight and do not let your body rotate toward the ground or open toward the ceiling as you lift. Make sure your toe doesn’t rotate open as you lift.
Feel the outside of your glute and hip working to lift the leg. Complete all reps on one side before switching.
Feet-Raised Hip Thruster:
Take the basic glute bridge and amplify the pump with the Feet-Raised Hip Thruster. This move will work on hip extension and get those glutes burning and engaged! It is the perfect way to unlock your hips as you activate your glutes.
To Feet-Raised Hip Thruster, place a box and a bench close enough together that your back can be on the bench and your feet up on the box. You just don’t want your legs to be out too far. If your legs are out too straight, you will use more hamstrings than glutes.
Then with your feet and back both up on boxes or benches, bridge up, driving up through your heels and your upper back. Make sure to engage your abs and even do a pelvic tilt if you struggle to keep your low back from taking over.
Drive your hips up and squeeze your glutes. Lift your hips to full extension and hold for a second and then lower back down. Make sure you don’t drive yourself backward over the bench. You want to bridge straight up and feel like you are driving your knees forward over your toes.
Lower back down, making sure to drop your butt below the height of the box and repeat. You do not have to touch the ground each time, but you do want to do a bigger range of motion than you could if performing a bridge from the ground.