“Gluteus maximus is the largest of the gluteal muscles. The general functions of the muscle are believed to be extension of the hip, adduction, and external rotation. There is also evidence pointing to the significant role of glute max in force closure or compression stabilization of the SI joint. While there is some debate in the medical literature of the role of glute max, it is fairly obvious it is an important hip stabilizer.” -Breaking Muscle
At the Aware Relaxed Connected workshop on Sunday, hosted by one of our mentors and friend Craig Mallett, we learnt a terrific glute activation technique. Yes, there are a lot of them out there; any physio, chiro or PT will have half a dozen you can do on your lounge room floor. And that’s great. And we’ve been given and tried many ourselves over our years within the health and fitness industry as both coaches and also as clients/patients.
What we liked about Craig’s approach on the weekend though was the truly holistic (whole-istic) perspective. Instead of just lying down to perform a select few leg raising exercises, or some standing up, Craig explained the usefulness and true functionality of activating the glute muscles in ALL movements and angles. From getting up off of the floor in all different ways, standing upright and bending in different directions, to walking up and down stairs. Why set limits?
That was the theme of the day really… move well in ALL directions. Be a ‘generalist’ with movement. Adapt to different positions, angles, heights, environments so you can better handle being in different positions when needed, or when you want to. This really blew our minds! By the end of the day we were happily overwhelmed with this new (but not really ‘new’) concept and have been incorporating this idea into our everyday lives ever since.
So anyway, back to the glute relevance!
The workshop started with us practising glute activation in all sorts of different positions, heights and movements. We want to share a couple of them with you guys that you can easily start implementing and hopefully benefit from.
SOME GLUTE ACTIVATION IDEAS FOR YOU TO TRY:
Standing position with straight back: bend knees slightly, keep back straight, lean forwards bringing your chest toward the ground. When you feel your butt is at full stretch stop. Then, concentrating, squeeze or ‘turn them on’ and as you continue to keep them switched on, slowly raise your torso back to standing position but take it slightly further by pushing your pelvis forward to finish. Repeat this 10-20 times to get the hang of it.
Standing position different angles: this is similar to the previous movement but instead bend the knees at different angles, feel the stretch in one or both glutes and stand to upright position squeezing them the whole time. Play around with every possible angle you can come up with, including a rounded back.
Standing from sitting on the ground: sit on the floor/ground in all different positions, activate your glutes as much as possible in each position, then get to standing position keeping the glutes on the entire time. This is a tricky one and takes a lot of concentration (which the brain likes because the brain and body work best together, not separately).
Step ups: this one you can do with stairs in your home (we often use 2 at a time to get the full glute stretch) or anything stable you can step up and down with. Simply place one foot up on the step, concentrate on squeezing that glute and stand upright keeping it squeezed the entire time. Do this a few times on one leg then swap to the other leg. Then play around with different foot positions and knee angles. If you automatically step up with your knee facing inward, try breaking that habit and step up with it outward a few times. Change the step height when you can and vary this movement up as much as possible.
We’ve been making a conscious effort to do these at home. It’s hard, they’re not something we were doing previously so to add the movements into our day has taken some mental effort. But even when we think of it sometimes and just do a few standing with straight back, or we remember to stand up with glutes on from sitting on the floor watching TV, then that’s something. And that’s all you need to do. Practice as many of these as you can manage and you’ll be doing your body some good. Especially your pelvic stabilisation, which is so important.
Remember to check out Craig’s website Aware Relaxed Connected for lots of great resources, grab the current videos on the Tutorials page and check back regularly for new videos. We urge you to spend a few bucks on them and benefit from the content. All the money Craig receives from the purchase of videos and workshop attendance goes toward him learning more from his own mentors and teachers. Eventually that seeps back to all of us.. so it’s really a positive cycle!
Let us know if you have any questions and have fun with your new movements!
Clint & Aimee
5 things we’re grateful for today:
- Attending Craig’s brilliant workshop last weekend
- Forest play time
- Meeting new lovely people at all of our recent free library talks
- You guys reading our blog posts!
- All the cherry tomatoes we’ve been picking from our container garden lately
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