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Glute Activation: Fab or Fad?

This article addresses the key concepts behind flute activation and if you should be including it in your training. Intro Glute activation (GA) seems to be a pretty hot topic at the moment. A few years ago it was so foreign, then it was the be all and end all for athletes and fitness models and not it has swung back around to getting some stick. What is Glute Activation? GA is effectively performing hip extension exercises that isolate the gluteus maximus and medius. The idea of GA started as us as humans on the whole are living more sedentary lives, sitting at desks all day and not using our glutes. Why perform GA? GA gets a lot of stick as some of the instagram models tend to miss use it and pass it off as a "booty building" exercise where it most certainly isn't. Strength coaches, physios, chiropractors and the like use GA to "activate" the glutes. I'd just like to take a moment to point out an argument in the fact that humans have been walking around the earth for thousands of years without having to perform GA to activate the glutes to be able to stand up and walk around, getting on just fine. HOWEVER, humans have never been so sedentary before with minimal physical activity and maximal sitting on sofas. The idea of it is that the glutes are not completely switched off they are just a bit "sleepy" from the lack of activity. Therefore, getting a bit of blood flowing through the glutes from GA and warming them up can help wake them up. Waking the glutes up can reduce lower back arching, relieve stress through the hamstrings, reduce pronation of the ankle and also reduce knee valgus. All these things can lead to injury so you should do it right? Wrong. It's not for everyone, and although it will cause no harm, it will just be a bit of a waste of time if you don't need to do it. GA isn't just for the muscle, when performing you can prime the muscle nodes and motor units and can be a great coaching aid to encourage athletes not to let their knee collapse in (valgus) or their foot arch collapse (pronation). Summary Overall GA has had some bad press and hasn't been used in the right way and almost been relied upon. It's most certainly not the be all and end all but if your clients suffer from the above issues then it is a potentially very easy and cheap solution. Further, I have been using it as a training cue for my squats to keep my knees out and I have found my knee pain is significantly reduced when I perform GA to when I forget to. This might be a bit of a biased view and some people may not agree but why would some of the worlds best athletes and coaches implement it if it didn't do anything.

Published on 19 July 2018


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