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Squeeze Your Glutes

Fitness-minded individuals are always looking for the next big thing that will take their performance and results to the next level, and it makes sense. Being complacent in the gym will keep you from progressing and making noticeable gains.

A strong pair of glutes is good for fitness across the board.

While many may be searching far and wide for that ground-breaking lifting tip or trick, however, the answer to instantly better lifts – and consequently, better results – lies, well, just behind you. By simply remembering to “squeeze your butt cheeks,” you will be able to increase your lifts across the board.

What’s So Important about Your Glutes?

The glutes are composed of three different muscles: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.

Suffice it to say these three gluteal muscles originate at different locations on the pelvis and insert down to the hips, quadriceps, and femur.1 These gluteal muscles work together and are involved in the extension, abduction, and function of the upper leg (thigh) area.

The gluteal muscles are one of the strongest muscles in our body. Consequently, recruiting and activating the glutes can offer several advantages in the gym.

Squeezing Glutes Improves Lower Body Lifts

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Because the glutes are so heavily involved in the function and movement of the upper leg, it’s no wonder calling on this large muscle group can offer a range of benefits for your lower-body workouts.

One thing you’ll quickly notice as you make a conscious effort to squeeze the glutes during exercises like the squat or deadlift is you’ll be able to generate a better hip drive and therefore create more explosive power. Additionally, by activating your butt during these lifts, you’ll be able to offer greater lower-back support. While it’s true your lower back will be utilized during these movements, many people may rely solely on the strength of their back to lift the bar from the ground during the deadlift or to burst upwards out of the squat, and that is a one-way ticket to the physical therapist’s office. To be able to lift heavy weight from the ground upwards, you’re going to need to maximize your hip drive via glute activation.

Squeezing the glutes during your leg workouts will allow you to move heavier weight and also reduce the risk of injury. But the benefits of using your butt don’t end at lower-body movements.

Using Your Glutes to Improve Upper Body

You may be asking yourself exactly how squeezing your bottom can offer any assistance to your upper body workouts, and that’s a fair question. But the derriere plays a big part in lifting heavier weight during upper body movements, especially during the overhead press and bench press.

To perform an overhead press with a relatively significant amount of weight, you’re going to need a solid core to stabilize the weight and power through the movement. By utilizing your glutes and your abs, you are able to create a more solid, firm core to safely execute the movement and channel enough upper-body strength to press the weight upwards. The tighter your core is during the press, the better you’ll be able to balance the weight throughout the movement, and this is especially important for preventing shoulder injury.

Don’t forget to squeeze that booty during upper body movements.

Furthermore, activating your glutes will improve your bench-press form and allow you to lift more weight.

Much like during the overhead press, the core stabilizes the weight as you move it towards your body and then back up (also referred to as the eccentric and concentric motions, respectively). Your glutes will also help you create more leg drive during the bench movement, and this is important because firmly planting your feet as far under yourself as possible during the bench press not only helps with stabilizing the bar, but it also helps improve the tightness in your upper back, providing a solid base to generate some substantial power.

But the derriere plays a big part in lifting heavier weight during upper body movements, especially during the overhead press and bench press.

Lastly, squeezing your glutes will help lock in the arch in your back during the bench press, which will, once again, help support your upper back during the lift.

Remember to Use Your Behind

Squeezing your glutes will take your lifting performance in the gym to a new level of intensity by allowing you to lift the weight more effectively and in a safer manner. The benefits of squeezing your tush also extend outside the gym to everyday life. Activating the glutes helps take tension off the lower back – and this is especially beneficial for those that are constantly on their feet for work.

Use your butt in all exercises both upper and lower..

So the next time you hit the gym, remember to use that large muscle group you’re probably sitting on right now. To build an even stronger bottom, throw some glute activation exercises like glute bridges and/or donkey kicks into your workouts.

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Angie Layton
Angie has years of experience in the health and fitness Industry. Angie currently holds one on one personal training sessions, coaches group training classes, provides nutritional plans and will also prepare the food for the meal plans. Angie educates in corporate wellness programs, prepares clients for Bikini, Figure and physique competitions and teaches posing classes for competitions. By designing fitness and nutrition plans, Angie motivates people to look and feel their best.

REFERENCES

  1. Anatomy Tables – Gluteal Region, Posterior Thigh & Hip., University of Michigan Medical School.
Leave a Comment

2 Comments

Doris

December 16, 2015

I need to work on shaping my butt I had a total knee replacement that didn’t go well so now I can’t bend one knee so I can’t do quays please help my butt is flat

Reply

    Angie Layton

    December 16, 2015

    Hi Doris,

    My recommendation to you is that you first talk to your doctor about seeking out help from a physical therapist to bring motion back to your knee. The most effective workouts for building muscle in your glutes involve the bending of your knees. However, standing abduction is one movement that may help to increase muscle. Stand on your left leg and lift the right leg back and up to create a 45 degree angle while keeping your right leg straight. Then, switch to the other leg. If you do this movement to failure, then you are more likely to build muscle in your butt which can help to shape it.

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