Do you deal with people who no matter what they do cannot improve their gluteus maximus? Maybe you work with athletes who constantly have hamstring problems?
Ever considered they can’t activate it?
That’s right, many people cannot activate their glutes properly. No matter how many squats, lunges and deadlifts you do, all your going to do is overwork the hamstrings and not get the desired outcome.
You can test activation by performing a prone leg extension, lay your client on their front and ask them to extend their hip. Place one hand on their hamstrings and one on their buttocks and ‘feel’ for the muscle recruiting. Researchers can’t agree on a recruitment pattern but if they cannot lift their leg then chances are they can’t recruit their glutes properly, also if it feels like the hamstrings are doing the majority of the work they probably are. Anybody with internally rotated femur also needs to work on their glute activation. Either way you need to retrain your clients to recruit their glutes properly.
Single leg lifts from an all four position can work. This can be made more effective by flexing the knee to really disengage the hamstrings.
The best exercise though is retro running. Simply performed by a slow jog backwards (walk backwards to begin with), and with each step backwards stride out with your lead leg trying to get the ankle to hip height behind you. Concentrate on squeezing the glutes as hard as possible at the top of the movement and minimise any lean forward. This is a guaranteed method of improving glute activation and reducing potential hamstring injuries.
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