Engaging the glutes
Siobhan Byrne offers advice for targeting this group of muscles
AS we continue to focus on back health, this week let’s look at how effectively targeting the glutes - the group of three muscles making up the buttocks - may help to alleviate back issues. Most people do simple tasks, such as lifting and bending over, improperly and that affects what may already be weak muscles in the lower back. That’s because although we know the importance of training the entire body, glutes are one specific muscle group, especially in women, that may not get hit as much as it should.
A lot of this is because we lead a more sedentary lifestyle, which can result in the hip flexor slightly shortening and thus affecting the range of movement in the glute muscle.
You may notice that when you train your legs, the quads may tire or feel it the next day but not so much the glute area.
What can be done about this? I like exercises that target the glutes, in particular using the stepper, if you are into cardio, or specific glute machines. I find it is important to think about the muscles that I am targeting to get them working at their best.
I have found weighted walking lunges effective for hitting the glutes. On the other hand deep squats, although a great exercise, don’t seem to give as much bang for their buck even when squatting below the parallel, and also not everyone is flexible enough to hit great form with this exercise.
If you struggle to engage your glutes while training try tiring out the quad muscle prior to hitting the glutes. Usually you will get better results with this method as the quad is tired and the glutes have no choice but to work on deep squats. Range of motion is extremely important and if your flexibility is compromised so will your form be and the results you achieve from the exercise.
Do each exercise 12 times before moving on to the next one. When you have completed each exercise, that is one set. Catch your breath before moving on to the next set, and do three to four sets, three to four
times a week