If you attend Pilates classes at Lotus Health and Fitness you will know we take the subject of Glute Activation very seriously. Most people who start practicing Pilates with us have very little awareness and strength in the gluteal muscles.
Lots of people come to us with lower back issues, muscle or joint injuries and have been advised to strengthen their core. Equal importance for many people is glute strength.
Benefits of Glute Strengthening
- Improves Posture – If we sit for long periods of time, this can lead to long weak glute muscles and and tight hip flexors. This causes the pelvis to tilt forward which can lead to lower back ache and can give the illusion of a large abdomen as it pushes forward.
- Athletic performance – Strong glutes produce power and acceleration when running, jumping, cycling and pretty much every sport. When the glutes are weak it can cause overuse injuries in the quads and hamstrings.
- Not forgetting aesthetics – glute strengthening and activation exercises will help you get that summer bikini booty in time for your holiday!
Here’s a few exercises you can do at home. They will all feature in our Pilates classes throughout June.
Sandra demonstrating her favourite exercise – Single Leg Extension. Simple but highly effective for glute strength and activation.
Ensure you maintain a neutral pelvis by keeping the hip bones and pubic bone in contact with the floor. Engage corset muscle (transverse abdominis) by lifting the navel from the floor and tightening around the waist. Exhale as you lift leg and extend at the hip. Aim to lift the thigh from the floor. Repeat 10 – 15 times on each leg.
Maintain a neutral position as describes above. Laterally rotate legs from the hip joint. The the legs are laterally rotated there is a greater emphasis on activating Gluteus Maximus. Squeeze fitness circle as you exhale. Inhale release sightly. For extra oomph… lift tights as you exhale and squeeze the fitness circle. Repeat 10 times.
From a neutral lying position. Lift hips into a neutral bridge position. There are lots of effective variations of this exercise. Try holding a bridge position, remembering to activate the glutes to hold hips in an elevated neutral position. Exhale and squeeze the fitness circle. You can also add hip drops as you inhale (drop hips a few inches) and lift to a neutral bridge position as you exhale. Repeat 10 times.
As well as working the glutes, this is also a great exercise to strengthen the hamstrings. Maintain a neutral spine throughout. Squeeze the ball and extend the hip by raising the leg. Ensure you maintain a strong, neutral spine to prevent excessive extension in the lumbar spine.
Contact Clare or Sandra if you want to find out more information about the Pilates classes we offer.