Have you ever noticed you have a stronger and weaker side?
Have you ever been told your hips are uneven? Your SI joint is “out of whack” or you have an upslip or even rotation?
Or maybe you’ve just noticed you always get low back or hip pain on one side?
Heck…maybe you’ve even noticed a leg length discrepancy you weren’t born with!?
All of these things show imbalances and compensations that need to be addressed….
Addressed by UNILATERAL moves.
All too often with bilateral movements, we can compensate and our dominant side takes over for our weaker side.
We can often “hide our weakness” and make it hard to activate the right muscles when we do bilateral moves.
Plus, because one side is stronger, we compensate so our weaker side can “keep up.”
But if we don’t want to risk compensating, which can lead to injury, we first need to correct our imbalances.
And by correcting those imbalances, especially when it comes to GLUTE ACTIVATION, we can create lumbopelvic hip stability so we can prevent injury and lift more.
This is where unilateral activation comes into play.
It helps us address those imbalances so that right muscles are working and we can shrink the gap between our weaker and stronger side!
So if you have hip issues, low back issues…even knee pain…unilateral glute activation is especially important!
And not only doing unilateral, or single sided glute activation, but even potentially more reps, on that weaker side.
So if you’re ready to build hip stability, try these 3 Unilateral Bodyweight Glute Activation Exercises to correct those imbalance and get both glutes firing!
1. Glute Bridge with Rocks:
Unilateral moves are essential to correct imbalances because you can isolate one side at a time and focus in on the muscles that need to be working. And glute bridges are a must-do activation move to improve your hip extension.
HOWEVER, Single Leg Glute Bridges are an advanced move that could lead to you using your lower back or hamstrings to power the lift instead of correcting the existing imbalance.
So how can you get the benefit of a Single Leg Bridge if the move is too advanced? Do a Glute Bridge with Rocks! This move allows you to use both sides to bridge up WHILE pausing to activate each side a little extra individually.
To do the Glute Bridge Rocks, set up like you are going to do the Basic Glute Bridge. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Your feet should be about hip-width apart and your knees should be in line with your feet and hips.
Bend your arms to 90 degrees and then drive through your arms, upper back and heels to bridge up. Squeeze your glutes and brace your abs to bridge up. Then slightly release the contraction in one glute and rock to bridge one hip up slightly higher. Really focus on contracting that glute. Release that side and rock your other hip slightly up to contract that glute harder. Keep your abs braced as you rock slightly and alternate contracting each glute a little bit extra at the top of the bridge.
Do not let your low back take over as you hold at the top and work to contract each glute a little bit extra. Also, do not let your hips sag down toward the ground. Alternate rocks until all reps are complete then lower down.
2. 3-Way Hip Circles:
Activation moves can not only activate but also MOBILIZE. And the 3-Way Hip Circles do just that – they activate your glutes as you open up your hips.
You will work your glute medius with the Fire Hydrant and your glute maximus with the Donkey Kick portion. And you will even activate your abs with a Knee Tuck! It’s the perfect move to build hip stability!
To do the 3-Way Hip Circles, start on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Flex your feet.
Then, keeping your knee bent to about 90 degrees, kick one leg back like into a Donkey Kick. Hold there for a second. Make sure to keep your arms straight and squeeze your glutes as you extend your hip and drive your heel up toward the ceiling.
Then, keeping your knee bent, bring your leg up and out to the side into the Fire Hydrant position. Do not lower your leg down as you move from the Donkey Kick to the Fire Hydrant. Keep your foot flexed and knee bent to 90 degrees.
Without touching your knee down, then drive the knee forward and in toward your elbow. Feel your abs engage as you hold.
Repeat the circle, kicking your foot back to repeat.
3. Warrior III Squats:
Work on your balance, core stability, hip mobility AND glute activation with this Unilateral Activation Exercises – The Warrior III Squats. You’ll feel this move working from the ground up!
To do Warrior III Squats, set up in the Warrior III position. Start balancing on one leg then hinge over so that your chest is parallel to the ground. Reach your raised leg back toward the wall behind you as you keep your hips square to the ground and straighten your standing leg as much as you can. Then reach your hands overhead toward the wall in front of you or out to the sides or even back toward your feet.
From this Warrior III position, bend your standing leg to perform a small squat. Make sure to keep your raised leg up and reaching toward the wall behind you as you stay in that hinged over position as you squat. Do not start to stand up as you squat.
Straighten your standing leg back out and then repeat the small squat. The lower you squat as you maintain that Warrior III position, the harder the move will be. Also, the more you completely straighten your standing leg, the harder the move will be.
Complete all reps on one side before switching. Do not let your hips open up as you squat. Also, do not go forward onto your toes or round your back. The move doesn’t have to be super big to have benefit!
Ready to correct those imbalances with 15-minute booty burner workouts? Learn how here –>