Hi Mia here,
I've been on fire recently, pulling out all my supermom tricks it feels like. Sasja has been ill, so the business, the house and the 3 pets are all falling on me. It is non stop around here! After every dish washed, dog walked and email sent, I feel like a hero. lol!
That's a bit dramatic, but if I don't toot my own horn, who else will? (P.S. There's a lesson there.)
Ok, so a former student wrote me about why glute isolation is important. I asked in return, "Do you mean glute activation?" She said, "Sure, but really isolation."
I never answered her question. So Miss Denise, if you're reading, this one is for you.
It a nut shell, exercises considered to be "glute isolation," meaning only involving the glutes, include the other leg muscles as well, so they aren't really isolating, but they are activating more so than compound movements like squats and deadlifts.
"Ok, so glute activation then. Still why is it important?"
Well, your glutes, especially the glute maximus, are the powerhouses of your body. In fact, the glute max is the largest and thickest muscle in the body. It is also the most dormant. Having this muscle strong will help eliminate back and knee pain, improve overall function/strength and working them out burns more calories, aiding in fat loss.
Sounds like an all around WIN situation right?
So get off your butt (pun intended) and get to training! This means more than just squats, you want to fatigue the muscle fibers and actually get them to grow in size and strength if you want those aforementioned benefits.
And guess what? You do not have to figure out what to do. We've done it for you!
HERE are some great exercises to get you started on your glute journey.
Do about 3-4 sets of 20 reps of each. Really push yourself. On the glute bridges and hip thrusts and challenge yourself to hold the contraction for 3-5secs. That's where the money is.
According to Bret Contreras, aka The Glute Guy, "Most people can contract their glutes harder during bodyweight glute activation exercises than during their max in squats and deadlifts."
I know you see a lot of women squatting heavy and doing heavy leg presses. And while that is super awesome, it is not the most effective way to train your glutes and get the benefits of balance and low to no back/knee pain. Those particular exercises are not maximizing the glute muscle fibers as much as they need to, and they are only training in one direction of basic hip extension like a vertical jump.
There is still hyperextension that mimics sprinting, like glute bridges, hip thrusts, hip abduction, hip transverse abduction and hip external rotation. These exercises will get you started on 4 out of 5 of those movements. Implement them right away. Maybe you do 3 on one day and the other another day. If you're really about it you can do them in pairs 3 days out of the week for 6-8 sets, or until you can not do another rep.
That's fatigue for you! LOL
If you end up actually doing them, please let me know how it works out for you, or if you have any specific questions about the glutes, feel free to write me and answer them for you.
Until then, stay awesome, strong and inquisitive. The more you ask us questions, the more we can give you content you actually want to learn more about. There's no point in guessing.
If you haven't already done so, add me on facebook or join our group! It's a great platform to ask questions and get support while you're on this fitness journey. You don't have to do it alone if you don't want to.
Dedicated To Your Success,
Transformation and Strength Coach
Strong 4 Pole, Founder & Co-Owner