1 exercise to super power your strongest muscle
By Andy on April 21, 2016
The Glutes are the strongest muscle you have and used in so many movements, exercises and performance activities, so why neglect it?
If you could choose 1 exercise to do the rest of your life then squats may just be it. Today I’ll discuss an additional exercise that will further increase the glutes capabilities for squats and other lower body exercises.
Why are there so many professional coaches and specialists who keep hammering the issue that we should all be doing more squats? You see squats are not just leg exercises – squats mimic a very natural movement and enable the joints of the legs, hips, and back to handle more force and also increase the overall wellness and longevity of the spine, hips, and bones of the lower body.
Would you prefer to go through life with a healthy frame of spine, hips, lower back, and knees? Everyone would say yes to that.
Now, let’s get to the hip thrust exercise that enables you to activate the glutes even more. The hip thrust is an excellent addition to any glutes workout as it targets the glutes muscles between 50-70% more than a squat.
Here is the difference:
Squats – the glutes are activated during the downward movement of the squat to allow your hips to externally rotate and are activated even more when standing up during a squat do complete a hip extension movement. During the phase of straightening your knees, your hamstrings will assist your glutes as you stand up.
Hip Thrusts – here the knees are always bent so your glutes basically do it all on their own and receive minimal assistance from the hamstrings. Hip thrusts activate the lower and upper fibers of the glutes more than the squat, you can also complete more reps in a shorter time to really hit the muscle hard and there is also a higher constant tension in the gluteus than with the squat. So overall more bang for your buck on the bum with hip thrusts!
Squats do however have a higher peak force, so it’s best to combine Hip thrusts with your squat routine for max glutes performance and look.
So here is the actual exercise, yes it may be a bit intimidating or even embarrassing for a few people but all professional athletes and figure models use it as it plain and simply just works really well. I’ve personally seen higher glute activation, improved jumping heights, and better looking all round lifted bums from my clients.
Method: Ensure that your upper shoulders are supported by a bench, so no strain on your neck, here I simply threw a few plates on top of each other. Feet are placed hip-width or slightly wider with toes slightly pointing outwards. Find a soft spot for the bar just above your pelvis, this cushion or a towel really helps! Be sure to keep your spine neutral, push through your heels, and end up with a hard squeeze at the top of the movement.
Load: Beginner- If you are new to this then start off without any weights and try to complete 20 reps.
Intermediates / more active individuals – start off at 10 reps of between 50% – 80% of your body weight, yes it may sound heavy but this is one strong muscle and you need to really load it up.
Very active individuals – 10 reps of your own body weight. Build up to 1.5 times your body weight. I’ve seen people do this at twice their body weight so keep aiming higher and higher.
You may find these blogs very helpful – the highly effective squat complex plan for those legs you always wanted and improving your squats- click here , and 4 exercises or the ladies to shape that bum even further – click here
Coach Hannes, Iconic Fitness – Dubai Marina