If you spend most of your day sitting, your glutes will suffer and so will your hips and lower back. Aimee Fischer-Gray shows how to keep your glutes healthy.
Imagine what it would be like to walk without the large, complex gluteus muscles supporting our hips. You would fall smack down on your face! Sitting each day and neglecting the glutes increases the chance of chronic back pain and bad form when performing many compound exercises.
Not only is it important to train your glutes to be strong and capable of protecting your hips and lower back, but glute activation is a vital component before any workout, especially if you’ve been sitting all day.
Give this workout a go, increasing your weights each week depending on your fitness levels. You might be a little sore at the desk the next day, but hey, no pain, no gain!
1. Banded crab steps with squat jumps
Place the band underneath your knees, push your hips back and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor in a squat position. Take 10 steps with your knees turned out, toes forward and chest up nice and tall. Move your feet like a crab walking down the beach.
2A. Barbell hip thrusts
Begin seated on the ground with a bench directly behind you. Roll the bar to directly above your hips and lean back against the bench so that your shoulder blades are near the top of it. Begin the movement by driving through your feet, extending your hips vertically and activating your glutes until your shoulders, hips and knees are aligned, then slowly lower the bar back down to the ground.
2B. DB step ups into reverse lunge
Stand behind the bench with dumbbells in each hand, shoulders back and core switched on. Step up onto the bench with your left foot. As you lift up your right leg, lock out the left knee and contract your left glute while you bring your right knee up a touch higher then hip height (a high knee). Step down slowly with your right foot and take the left foot off the bench and into a reverse lunge. Repeat this immediately on the same leg with no rest.
3A. TRX single leg squat
Use the TRX as balance in this exercise, holding on with a light grip so your legs are carrying most of the load. Start by performing a single leg squat, driving the hips back and keeping the back straight. Keep your knee aligned with the foot and hip. As you come up from the squat, raise your knee high. Keep your foot off the ground between reps using the balance of the TRX.
3B. TRX single leg lunge
Place one foot in the TRX strap and face away from the point of suspension, balancing with most of your weight on the lunging leg. As you inhale, lunge back, making sure to keep your knee aligned with your foot and hips, your weight back towards the heel. Press through the heel to stand up, keeping your chest nice and tall. An option to make this exercise harder is to have dumbbells in either hand for more resistance on the isolated leg.
4A. Romanian deadlift
Start with the bar at hip level with a pronated grip (palms down), shoulders should back, eyes straight ahead, knees slightly bent and back slightly arched. Lower the bar down by moving your hips back as far as you can, keeping the bar as close to your legs as possible. Come down until you feel the stretch through the hamstrings and can’t go any lower, just below the knee is ideal. Return to the start position by driving your hips forward to stand up tall, squeezing your glutes at the top and relaxing through the shoulders and neck.
4B. Squat jumps with a pause at bottom
Stand in a neutral position with feet shoulder width apart and shoulders relaxed. Squat down and hold for three seconds at the bottom, allowing all the muscle fibres to connect throughout the lower body. Engaging your core jump explosively with your arms swinging to help with the jumping momentum. When you land come straight down into the squat position. Be sure to land gently which will require control and practice!
5A. Goblet sumo squats
Stand straight with your feet wider than shoulder width and toes facing out. Hold a kettlebell upside-down in front of your chest with both hands. Slowly lower your body down into a squat as far as you can comfortably go, pulse twice, then slowly return to starting position.
5B. Travelling KB squats
Start with two kettlebells in your hands, tucked into your chest. Tilt your hips back with your weight over your heels and begin to walk forward while in a squat position. Keep your chest upright and continue to engage through the core.
Aimee Fischer-Gray Aimee runs a tight ship as a personal trainer at Fitness First Bondi Platinum and with her Rockin’ Rigs Booty outdoor camp twice a week. Fitness and health has been part of her life since she was a child, and her passion keeps her learning and growing as a trainer. Contact her at Aimee@aimefit.com and follow her on Instagram @Aimefit.
Photography by Matt Grech
Videography by Nathan Ford