Updated: Mar 19, 2022
What does an elite high jumper have in common with a soccer mom with three kids? They both need a good set of glutes. The glutes are the primary source for explosive #running and jumping which is great for #athletes. And they are really important if you are a non-athlete who wants to tone –up your backside and get rid of nagging back pain.
The glutes should be the epicenter or focus for both producing and absorbing forces in sports and in everyday tasks. Over the years I have found the glutes to be the top dumb group of muscle in the body. This poses a huge #injury risk, both for athletes and non-athletes. This is because most human movement involves us having to lift or hold up our #spine, along with any load, for almost every activity. For example, if you were loading some heavy camping gear you would need glute strength to avoid throwing out your back. Back pain affects at least 80 percent of adults, with a chronic rate of 50 percent. Sure you need a strong core to have a healthy back, but weak glutes are the true cause.
Need more convincing? How about the fact that women have an ACL (knee ligament) rupture up to fivefold more than males of the same age! Part of this is due to the gender differences in biomechanical alignment, but weak #glutes are largely at fault as well.
There are many glute builders to pick from. I usually recommend starting with closed–chain movement (think primal movement). Therefore, a basic bridge on the floor is a great place to start. However, there are a few tweaks you might want to pay attention to as they increase the glute involvement while reducing stress on your lower back.
Glute bridge: laying flat on your back, with your knees bent, place your feet together and about 12 inches from your butt. Put your arms out to the sides for stability. Before pushing your hips off the ground, lightly squeeze your thighs together, engage your glute like you are clenching two fists, and draw in your core. Maintain a neutral spine while you keep your glutes and core tight the entire time.
Experiment driving through the heels, flat/mid-foot, or forefoot to see what hits the glutes harder. As for tempo, I suggest pushing the hips up over one second, holding at the top for five seconds, then lowering over two seconds. Repeat five to ten times for two to three sets, three times per week. Progress this by holding one knee to the chest throughout the rep.
Or stick with the two-legged version and use a mini band at the knees. Keep your knees and feet about 18 inches apart. Now go keep that backside from saggin’!