When I was in Aspen, CO last week, I had the opportunity to visit the Aspen Club and have some instruction from one of their top trainers. She and I discussed how many runners fail to “fire up” and use their glutes effectively while running and doing other athletic activities. Not doing so, can lead to tighter hamstrings and less efficient performance and ultimately injuries. As I’ve had a few of those recently, I was eager to hear what she had to say. She demonstrated these 5 exercises to me to help “fire up those glutes”. I’d like to share them with you all:
1. Balance on one leg–
This sounds pretty simple “butt” give it a try. Stand on 1 leg with the other leg bent in a 90 degree angle for 1 minute. If this is too easy for you, stand on an unstable surface or bosu. As you do this, tighten the glute of the supporting leg, weight in the heel. Take note of how your ankles feel and if you are more stable on one side. Repeat 2z on each side for 1 minute.
2. The Stork-
Start standing on your right leg, lift your left knee and hinge back at the hips so that your right finger tips touch the floor. Try not to touch the leg to the floor in between reps. Repeat 20x on each side. How is your balance? Do you feel your glutes supporting you? Is one side harder than the other? 2×10 reps on each leg.
With a resistance band around your ankles (or tubing looped under your feet) start with feet hip distance apart, push hips and butt back into an athletic stance until you feel your glutes engage. Move laterally, one small step at a time maintaining that form. Do 20x on each way and repeat. This will be working your glutes, abductors, hip flexors.
4. Side lying horizontal abduction-
Lie on left side with right leg at a 90 degree angle from your body, straight out. Your left leg (bottom leg) is bent slightly. Relax your body onto the floor and lie your head onto your arm. Maintain a straight line with your body. Keep hips stacked. With your foot flexed, slowly raise and lower the right let maintaining the 90 degree angle. You should feel your glute and your abductors engage. Repeat 2×15 on each side.
5. Reverse lunge with a band around outside knee-
This one is a little tough at first. Stand perpendicular (left side closest) to a post or piece of gym equipment with a resistance band around your right knee. Perform a reverse lunge with your left leg while trying to maintain the position of your right leg. You will need to fight the band pulling your right knee in as you lunge backwards. Used to strengthen the muscles on the inside and outside of the knee while using the glutes. Repeat 2×15 each side.
Do you regularly do any of these exercises? Have they helped you? Did I miss any good ones?