Just a quick video today about glute activation from Timothy Ferriss, author of The Four-Hour Work Week and the recently-published tome of fitness, The Four-Hour Body. I realize we haven’t discussed the nitty-gritty of training yet (be patient, our loyal readers) and exercise is one of the central tenets of healthy living, so expect more posts of this nature in the future.
Glute activation is, to put it bluntly, a big deal. The glute maximus is the biggest muscle in the human body and, as you might imagine, is involved in just about every athletic movement you can imagine (e.g. sprinting, jumping, etc.). The bad news: nobody’s glutes are actually working. What exactly do I mean by this? Basically, your glutes exist, but the mind-muscle connection is so weak that your glutes don’t “fire” when called upon. Instead, the surrounding muscles (i.e. the hamstrings and lower back) compensate and carry the brunt of the load. Ever wonder why everyone pulls their hamstrings? The answer: crappy glute activation.
Why does this condition exist if our glutes are so important? Because we sit on our asses all day, which tightens the antagonistic hip flexors, inhibiting glute activation, and lengthens the glutes, making them weak and pathetic. We spend hours a day sitting, which one mobility expert calls “death by chair”.
Lucky for you, though, there is a cure. There are simple exercises and stretches you can do to rectify this problem. First, you can stretch the hip flexors, which are probably as tight as harp strings right now. As you will see in the video, there are a few glute activation exercises as well.
Note: from past experience with helping people activate their glutes (yes, I am the man), they won’t “feel” it at first, as would be somewhat expected. They do, however, improve in a matter of days if they are persistent, so don’t give up just because you feel it in your hamstrings and/or lower back initially.
So what can you expect from improved glute activation?
- Better posture
- Decreased chance of injury
- Better lower-body strength in lifts such as deadlifts, squats, lunges, step-ups, etc.
- Better glutes (who doesn’t want, as my grandmother said with such endearing aplomb, a “black ass”)
Sorry, but this video won’t let me post it directly on the blog, so just follow this link and it’s the first video on the page.