Do you have Sleepy Glutes?

Let’s wake them up!

What do we mean by “sleepy” glutes? Think about your typical 9-to-5 desk worker. For roughly 8 hours, 5 days a week, these individuals are sitting. Unless they have a standing desk or a stability ball chair, key muscle groups are dormant. Gluteal muscles? Reduced to being a cushion. Abdominal muscles? Likely napping while the focus is on fingers typing away at emails. The neurological connection is weaker in inactive muscles, so these groups are slower to respond when we need them to be alert. We can avoid injury from compensating with other body parts if we can get all the necessary muscles firing.

Simple as the following exercises may be, they are extremely effective in nurturing the mind-body connection and waking up neglected muscles. We recommend these for all skill levels, from people looking to optimize their strength workouts to people who just want better lateral hip strength for everyday, functional movement.

Glute Activation Exercise #1: Clamshells

Suggested: 2 sets of 20 repetitions on each side
Targets: Hip Abductors, Gluteus Medius, Piriformis, Abdominals

  1. Lie on your side, with legs stacked and knees bent at a 45-degree angle.
  2. Rest your head on the bottom arm to keep your spine neutral. Keep your top hand on your hip, with your fingers behind you and your thumb in the front, like the photo on the right. You are aiming to engage the glute muscles, so you should be feeling the muscles work under your fingers, and not your thumb.
  3. Imagine pulling your bellybutton toward your spine to engage your abdominal muscles.
  4. Keeping your feet together, raise the top knee as high as you can without shifting your hips. Lifting your knee too high will cause your hips to roll back.
  5. Pause, and then return the top leg to starting position.

When you’ve mastered the clamshell and are looking for something more challenging, you can progress to Side-Lying Leg Raises, or what we like to call “Jane Fondas” at PSM.

Glute Activation Exercise #2: Side-Lying Leg Raises

Suggested: 2 sets of 20 repetitions on each side
Targets: Hip Abductors, Gluteus Medius, Piriformis, Abdominal Obliques

  1. Lie on your side with your feet together. Imagine aligning your heels with your hips, shoulders, and ears. If you see your knees, your legs are too far forward. Point your toes toward your face to help engage your muscles.
  2. Rest your head on the bottom arm to keep your spine neutral. Keep your top hand on your hip, using it to ensure that you are engaging the glute muscles.
  3. Imagine pulling your bellybutton toward your spine to engage your abdominals.
  4. Raise the top leg as high as you can without shifting your hips, and visualize drawing a straight line from top to bottom with your heel.
  5. Pause, and then return the top leg to starting position.
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