One of the biggest misconceptions my clients have is about their glutes and how to use them in training. First off, let’s clear the air; your glutes are indeed your butt. Those muscles are super important for many reasons, but you’ve got to make sure you are training them correctly for them to function properly.
If I tell you to use your glutes, 90% of you will pinch your cheeks together hard, probably so hard you could hold a quarter back there—which is usually not a useful movement pattern.
Have you ever tried walking or running with your cheeks pinched together? What about going up stairs or jumping? These are movements that your glutes play a huge role in, but doing them with your cheeks squeezed tight is damn near impossible; therefore, not a truly effective way to condition.
Your glutes help with a movement called hip extension, which for simplicity’s sake, we will call reaching your leg behind you. For example, it’s what happens when you walk, run, jump or step up—pretty important stuff. That’s why training your glutes the right way will help you perform better.
One of the easiest exercises to immediately improve your gluteal function is the shoulder bridge. Start by putting your hands on your rear end and as you lift up, instead of squeezing your two cheeks towards your midline, imagine the muscles shortening between your sits bones, towards the top of your pelvis. If you want a more in depth description on how to do this exercise properly, check out our free e-book!