The following is a guest blog from Max Shank.
If you’ve been reading Bret’s blog for any length of time it should come as no shock that the glutes are massively important–and hopefully yours are massive, because it’s going to make you a better athlete.
Today I wanted to give you some simple actionable advice on how to better utilize those giant muscles.
In any athletic endeavour. hip extension is going to be the primarily important movement that dictates how strong and fast one can move. We often refer to triple extension as the cornerstone of athleticism, that is, the extension of the hips, knees, and ankles. This occurs in just about every athletic movement you can think of; running, jumping, swinging, punching, throwing, etc.
The glutes are also one of the most chronically sleepy muscles in your body–and it’s largely due to the fact that we sit on them all day and fail to activate them sufficiently in our daily lives.
The first issue we have to deal with is improving our flexibility into hip extension. We have to find a way to regain that movement. A standard half-kneeling position is a great way to get started on that, or my personal favorite, a deep lunge with rotations.
Then it’s time to wake them up! Some of the best ways to wake these bad boys up are through hip thrusts and hip abductions.
Hip thrusts should be no secret around these parts but hip abductions might be something new. To set up, simply stand on one leg and lift the other directly out to the side. Both feet should still point forward. While the leg is as high as possible to the side, take the same side arm and push straight down into it. You are going to feel a nice forceful contraction of the Lat and Glute on that side, as well as the glute on the standing leg working to stabilize. Talk about huge bang for your athletic buck, this will help activate the biggest muscles in the upper and lower body respectively, the lats, and the glutes.
Once you have the glutes properly lit up it is important to work varying speeds of this hip extension movement.
You’ll notice that all of the movements in the chart are relatively similar, in that they all include explosive hip extension or triple extension. Emphasizing this movement in different gears, so to speak, is going to ensure maximum gains across the strength/speed continuum. This is what really gives you the best chance to be as athletic as possible.
The bottom line is this, if you want to be supremely athletic, you are going to need some serious horsepower in your hip extension. To do this, you need to make sure the hips are mobile, the glutes are firing on all cylinders, and then train that hip extension in all sections of the strength/speed continuum.
Max just created a new product called Ultimate Athleticism (not an affiliate link) in case you want to check it out.
Max is an author, coach, and owner of Ambition Athletics in Encinitas, CA. He also competes in a wide variety of sports ranging from Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu to Scottish Highland Games.
Max’s desire to constantly improve his knowledge and personal skills has led him to be a sought after international presenter of his unique and pragmatic blend of strength, flexibility, health, and overall athleticism.