En­gag­ing the glutes

Siob­han Byrne of­fers ad­vice for tar­get­ing this group of mus­cles

Irish Independent - Health & Living - - FITNESS -

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


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