Do You Have Strong Glutes? Don't Be So Sure

Have you been doing squats, deadlifts and lunges to get your super strong glutes? Well, you may be going about it all the wrong way. These exercises operate under the myth that they make your glutes strong. They make the muscles sore, but they do little to strengthen them. Mainly, they target the quads and the erector spinae. If you were to study the activation data, you would see that glutes contract harder during body weight glute activation exercises than from one-rep max squats and deadlifts, says Bret Contreras for T Nation. This has nothing to do with form or people not knowing how to use their glutes. It is just that the traditional exercises for glutes, like squats, do not maximumly involve the muscle. They are, however, maximumly involved in bent-leg hip extension exercises. Contreras says, "Just because someone's glutes are big, it doesn't mean that they're strong. In addition to training around three hundred "normal" clients over the past few years, I've trained elite athletes, from NFL players to powerlifters, sprinters to figure models. I taught exercises, and I almost always had to start them off with their own body weight for resistance." Contreras has designed 4 phases of exercises for building your glute strength. Many you can do at the gym or at home while others require specialized equipment. No matter how strong you think your glutes are, he encourages you to move through the phases in order (remaining for at least 2 weeks in a particular phase) or else you will just be reinforcing your already dysfunctional habits. He says to continue to perform your squats and lunges on your regular leg day and to perform 2 weekly glute exercises on different days. And before you do those glute exercises, remember to warm up with hip flexor stretches. For a complete walk through of Contreras research and his glute exercises and phases, head to T Nation. Has this information given you a moment's pause? Are you now reconsidering your glute workout?  

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