Are Glute Activation Workout routines Obligatory?

These days, you possibly can’t scroll via socials lengthy earlier than listening to somebody tout the advantages of “glute activation workouts.”

In line with activation advocates, doing particular workouts to heat up your butt earlier than lower-body exercises helps you interact your glutes extra successfully than for those who went into your exercises “chilly.”

This, they declare, is vital as a result of it boosts efficiency and helps you higher develop your butt.

Is that this true, although?

Are glute activation workouts needed?

Or do they simply delay you from attending to extra productive coaching?

Get evidence-based solutions to those questions and extra on this article.


What Are Glute Activation Workout routines?

A glute activation exercise is a simple warm-up exercise that purportedly helps your glutes “fire” harder during lower-body workouts

They rose to prominence in the early 2000s after several esteemed physiotherapists and strength coaches claimed they “remind” your body how to use your glutes—something most people who spend long periods each day sitting have allegedly “forgotten.”

According to these experts, regaining proper use of your glutes is paramount for good physical fitness because it helps prevent muscle imbalances that can lead to lower-back, hamstring, and knee pain and ensures your glutes work optimally during physical activity (while playing sports or lifting weights, for example).

At first blush, this theory seems rational, which explains why the fitness fraternity adopted glute activation exercises wholesale and their popularity has continued to grow since. However, on closer inspection, there are multiple reasons to doubt its veracity.

First, it’s entirely based on anecdotal evidence from physiotherapists. And whereas these individuals are consultants of their discipline, their observations aren’t an alternative to scientific proof. 

Second, it assumes that your glutes turn out to be much less responsive as a result of extreme sitting shortens your hip flexors (the muscle tissues on the entrance of your hips), inhibiting your glutes’ capability to contract. Nevertheless, research in this space is inconclusive, which makes it not possible to attract agency conclusions about how hip flexor size and pelvic positioning have an effect on glute activation.

Third, studies generally find that folks with again, hamstring, and knee ache have completely energetic somewhat than dormant glutes.

And fourth, being inactive doesn’t seem to forestall your glutes from working when referred to as upon. An excellent instance of this comes from a study printed within the Journal of Utilized Physiology, through which 24 males had been confined to mattress relaxation for 60 days.

Whereas in mattress, the researchers inspired the boys to maneuver as little as potential. To facilitate this, a nurse tended to the boys’s each want, together with serving to them use the toilet and eat.

Throughout the examine, a number of the males additionally did 1 arduous set of the leg press 3 instances weekly, growing the weights they lifted because the examine progressed.

The outcomes confirmed that the boys who solely loafed misplaced glute muscle, which seemingly meant their glutes grew to become weaker. Those that exercised, nonetheless, gained glute measurement and energy regardless of spending solely a short time coaching every week.

In different phrases, the boys didn’t want to maneuver or use activation workouts to “recall” find out how to use their glutes. They had been completely capable of activate, strengthen, and develop their glutes, regardless of spending most of their time supine. 

Are glute activation workouts needed, then?

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Are Glute Activation Workout routines Obligatory?

I’m skeptical about glute activation workouts for a few causes:

  1. Why would doing simple bodyweight exercises before more challenging ones improve muscle activation in the latter?
  2. Even if it did, wouldn’t simply using heavier weights accomplish this better, and wouldn’t that extra 10-to-20 minutes of futzing around with a resistance band be better spent just doing more working sets of regular exercises?

Unfortunately, science hasn’t definitively answered these questions yet. Several studies offer some insight, though.

For instance, one study carried out by scientists at St Mary’s College discovered that weightlifters who carried out glute activation workouts earlier than doing the dangle excessive pull (an explosive train that resembles the energy clear) produced the identical or larger drive than after they didn’t activate their glutes earlier than exercising. 

Curiously, after they activated their glutes beforehand, they exhibited decrease glute activation in the course of the explosive train.

The scientists weren’t certain why this was, although they hypothesized that doing glute activation workouts made the communication between the weightlifters’ brains and butts extra environment friendly. As such, their brains may ship a weaker sign to their glutes to get an equal or larger response.

Research carried out by scientists on the College of Southern California lends some credence to this idea.

On this examine, the researchers discovered that individuals who did a glute activation train with bands for one hour per day for every week elevated “corticomotor excitability” within the area of the mind accountable for making the glutes contract. Right here’s a graph taken from this examine illustrating the rise:


In different phrases, frequently doing glute activation workouts “educated” the folks’s brains to higher talk with their glutes, permitting them to activate their glutes extra effectively.

And this can be why some studies show that glute activation workouts can improve athletic efficiency.

Opposite to this idea, nonetheless, analysis additionally reveals that frequently doing glute activation workouts will increase glute activation throughout lower-body workouts. 

For instance, in one other study carried out by scientists on the College of Southern California, researchers discovered that individuals who carried out glute activation workouts twice day by day for every week elevated glute activation in the course of the body weight squat and cut up squat by 57% and 53%, respectively.

This isn’t a black mark towards glute activation workouts, however it discredits the idea that frequently activating your glutes makes it simpler to your mind to speak to your tail finish. 

Not all glute activation analysis is sort of so peachy. 

Whereas some studies counsel that glute activation workouts are a boon for efficiency, a better have a look at their outcomes paints a extra ambiguous image.

For example, one study carried out on the College of Limerick discovered that doing glute activation workouts earlier than plyometric (leaping) coaching improved lower-body energy and energy. These enhancements didn’t translate into higher efficiency, although (the individuals couldn’t bounce as excessive after the activation workouts).

Moreover, other studies present glute activation workouts supply no profit to athletic efficiency.

In a study printed within the journal Analysis in Sports activities Medication, researchers discovered that individuals who carried out glute activation workouts 3 instances weekly for six weeks didn’t see a rise in glute activation or drive manufacturing throughout squats.

One other study printed within the Journal of Energy and Conditioning Analysis discovered that including glute activation workouts to an everyday dynamic warm-up didn’t enhance athletic efficiency greater than doing the common dynamic warm-up alone.

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Ought to You Do Glute Activation Workout routines?

Loads of research counsel that glute activation workouts enhance athletic efficiency. The issue is, an equal quantity present they’re nugatory on this regard.

Likewise, it’s debatable whether or not glute activation workouts improve glute activation throughout subsequent train, with some research reporting that they do and others displaying they make no distinction. In any case, it’s unclear what sensible worth elevated activation has.

First, muscle activation solely measures {the electrical} exercise of a muscle, not progress. And whereas muscle activation is critical for constructing muscle—no activation at all times means no progress—it isn’t the best proxy for gauging good points. 

For example, the barbell hip thrust usually produces extra glute activation than the squat, however attributable to a wide range of components (shorter vary of movement and fewer stretching of the muscle fibers, primarily), research reveals the squat is a greater train for constructing your booty. 

Second, it’s potential any advantages from the glute activation workouts carried out would disappear as you get stronger on workouts just like the squat, which can at all times produce excessive ranges of glute activation.

In different phrases, whereas activation workouts may assist newbies higher stimulate their glutes of their lower-body coaching, the impact may disappear as they get stronger. 

The one different semi-compelling science-based purpose to do glute activation workouts is that they could assist your head and heinie talk extra effectively. Analysis supporting this idea is patchy, although, and there’s little proof that it boosts muscle progress or efficiency. 

An inexpensive counterargument is that activation workouts are easy and stressless, so there’s no draw back to making an attempt them out.

And to that, I say go well with your self.

Supplied you’ve gotten the time to carry out glute activation workouts, take pleasure in them, and really feel like they profit your exercises, fill your boots.

Simply ensure you observe a wise glute activation routine . . .

The Finest Glute Activation Workout routines

The most important mistake folks make when designing a glute activation routine is that they embrace too many workouts, units, and reps.

It is best to solely do sufficient to “awaken” your glutes, not fatigue them.

As such, your routine ought to be quick (lower than 10 minutes) and embrace only a handful of the finest workouts for glute activation. Right here’s what I like to recommend:

Glute Activation Routine

Keep in mind, this routine shouldn’t really feel tiring, so permit your self round 30 seconds between workouts to recover.

And if you want to do glute activation exercises with no equipment (while working out at home or traveling, for example), substitute the set of lateral band walks for another set of the glute bridge and the set of fire hydrants for another set of the donkey kick.

+ Scientific References