200 Glutes a Day Single Leg Circuit time!

Stop what you’re doing, it’s glute time!  Yes, why sit on the couch watching TV when you can do this side lying hip circuit that will get those glutes burning.

Remember, the glutes are the king of the golf swing, but really they are the king of everything.  There are so many things we do during the day that require these important muscles to provide support.  And from a training standpoint, it’s essential to do exercises that single them out as well as ones that incorporate them into base movements such as squats, deadlifts and lunges.

This circuit is all about singling them out!  And here it goes…….

  • Straight leg lift with toe pointed at ground 30 reps
  • Circle forward 10 times
  • Circle backward 10 times
  • Extended internal hip rotation 20 reps
  • Standard Clam Shell 30 reps
  • Repeat on the other side!

Here are some of the keys to success with side lying glute exercises:

  • Posture matters, let your head rest on a pillow or in your arm to keep the spine lined up properly
  • Neutral spine is essential, it’s really easy to compensate by arching the lower back with many of these motions.  Instead, tuck the pelvis under slightly to the neutral position and maintain some tightness in the abs
  • No need to rush any of these (although I sped the video up), focus on quality motion and feeling those glutes burn!

You’re just a few minutes away from better functioning, stronger glutes!

On another note……today was #metconmonster #day2 and I took on “Shoulder Boulders”. Basically you start with 50 pushups, then alternate between 1 minute of a cardio sprint and 15 push presses 8 times, then you finish with another 50 pushups.  My arms wanted to fall off at the end.  I have to admit though, I’m loving these short duration, intense workouts.  However, there are a few that I am dreading!

Goodnight!

-S

A must add to your glute routine!

The bridge is a pretty standard progression in the world of building a butt.  I find that it causes a lot of problems though, most people do not feel their glutes when they perform it!  Here is a different version that is guaranteed to make your booty burn!

The Frog Leg Bridge

A few keys:

  • Start in a standard bridge position, the only difference is you’re going to externally rotate your hips and allow the bottom of your feet to touch
  • Before you start, push your feet together.  This is the first step to glue engagement, if you are unable to engage them doing this, do not pass go!
  • Once you feel the glutes engage, lift your hips off the ground as high as you are able
  • I like using controlled motions with this and also adding in some holds at the top
  • Start with 2 sets of 15 and go from there!

Happy Glutes, Happy Friday!

-Shawn

Monday Rehab: Stop the hour long plank holds…..do this instead!

We’re keeping it simple on this Monday Rehab edition.  Bottom line, planks are awesome, but why on earth is everyone trying to hold it for a million hours?  Ok, I will admit that as a trainer, the plank has long been a wonderful torture device.  But let’s be real, holding it for longs periods of time has no functional translation into life.  Our bodies constantly move and adapt to changing environments, at no point are we bracing our core for minutes at a time in a position that frankly promotes bad posture (I’m just going to say it, plank is notorious for bad form and a misunderstanding of how to engage the body).

What’s the solution?  Use the plank as a tool to also engage your glutes, rotate, promote shoulder stability and ask the body to adapt!

I put together a selection of my favorite variations for you today, try completing this sequence holding each position for no longer than 20-30 seconds.

  • Standard Plank
  • Side Plank with Leg Lift
  • Pushup Plank
  • Side Plank with Leg Lift
  • Standard Plank focusing on pulling the elbows to your center
  • Slow motion Mountain Climbers
  • Side Plank with Torso Rotation
  • Plank with Frog Legs
  • Side Plank with Torso Rotation

Here are some keys to a plank that would make Tom Cruise jump on Oprah’s couch!

  • Alignment is everything, I like having my shoulders slightly in front of my elbows and the spine extending out parallel to the ground from there
  • Neutral spine, that means your lumbar spine is in the middle point between an anterior pelvic tilt and a posterior
  • Squeeze your glutes
  • Feel your elbows pulling to your center, and your chest extending out in front of you
  • Never compromise form for time, if your form starts to suck, starting singing “nananana, nananana, hey hey hey, goodbye”
  • Remember that if you are working out correctly with proper muscle engagement, there is no need to spend 10 minutes destroying your abs at the end of a workout.  I’m not saying skip the planks or extra core work, but remember that you do need those muscles the rest of the day and exhausting them to the point of dysfunction may lead to other issues.  Listen to your body, it knows best!

-S

Warm Up Wednesday: 2 must do exercises before golf, workouts and starting your day!

Let’s keep this simple, you sit all day long at work and chances are your hip flexors are tight and your glutes are inhibited.  Counteracting 60 plus hours in a chair every week is impossible, but there are two simple moves you can do everyday that will provide some help so that you can still get out on the golf course without pain or dysfunction.

1/2 Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch: The key here is using a posterior pelvic tilt and your glutes to create the stretch.  If you massively lean into this, it will do diddily squat!  In order to fight those tight hips you need the glutes to get their act together!  Try holding this position for 30 seconds and do 2 sets on each side.

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Follow up that stretch with…..

Tall Kneeling Hip Hinges:  You have released the front of your hip, now you need to reinforce your newly found glutes.  Set up with a ball between your feet and squeeze it lightly.  You will notice those glute muscles waking up!  From here, initiate a hip hinge keeping your back straight (basically just get into golf posture).  As you return to the tall position, squeeze the ball between your feet even harder and picture your glutes pulling you back to upright.  2 sets of 15 to start!

Give this a try tomorrow morning before you head out to work, and even throughout the day.  Chances are your posture will feel better and you may even find you have a little less back pain.

Enjoy!

-S

Clam Shells…..The exercise that just keeps returning

Clam Shells are probably one of the most common exercises handed out over the years.  And I must admit, I have tried to get away from them so many times.  One of my biggest pet peeves is having a client come in who has been doing Clam Shells for months…….with a band around their knees……wrong!

There are a ton of different variations of Clam Shells, but the most important key is maintaining posture and range of motion.  Since so many people are lacking mobility in their hips to begin with, it is really easy to compensate.  This is one of the main reasons I have taken a detour many times looking for other ways to engage the glutes.

But at the end of the day, sometimes there is no better way to engage the glutes.  This past week they came to my rescue when my back flared up and I needed a safe, stable way to reinforce my pelvic position.

So here they are again for a quick review!

A few keys to success:

  • Put a pillow under your head to provide better spinal alignment
  • Keep your shoulders and hip stacked on top of each other
  • Think about keeping your core engage and a neutral spine
  • Maintain the space between your rib cage and hip
  • When range of motion decreases, exercise is over!

Happy Glutes!

-S

A Glute Killer!

It’s been awhile since I posted an exercise that really gets after the gluteus maximus, and this one is no joke.  While simple in stature, it packs a huge punch and requires a lot of thought and careful movement.

Before you do it though, there is one very important requirement…..your glutes must be the star of the show in a basic glute bridge pattern!  The means you can complete a full bridge (shoulders, hips and knees meet in a straight line at the top) with those butt muscles firing up a storm.  My basic rule of thumb is that once you can complete 20 reps without those pesky hamstrings taking over, it’s time to advance.

So when that time comes, give this puppy a try!

The Bridge Slide

Here are some keys to success:

  • Engage the glutes prior to lifting the hips off the ground.
  • Extend the hips to full height, and check in on those butt muscles once again to make sure they are still jumping for joy.
  • Once stable, slowly begin to slide one leg out until it is straight.  This is where the challenge exists, as the leg straightens you will begin to extend further from the hip asking for even more glute engagement.  It will also ask the pelvis and core to stabilize.
  • Then, with a big breath out, raise the leg towards the ceiling.  This once again requires a huge amount of core stabilization and as the leg lowers, you must once again keep firing those glutes to prevent the hips from dropping.
  • After one rep is complete, slowly lower back to the ground and reset for the other side.
  • I would give you a rep range on this one, but I think it’s more important to be in tune with your body.  Do as many reps as you can find success in!

And just one more tip from someone that performed these today with ridiculously tight hip flexors and a slightly pulled right hamstring…….pre stretching the hip flexors will make this one more effective!  That last 5 degrees of hip extension is what makes the bridge a great exercise.  If the front of your hip is tight, say goodbye to that 5 degrees!

Cheers to awesome glutes!

-S

Get after those glutes!

Working the glutes with heavy weights and awesome exercises like lunges, squats and deadlifts is awesome.  But sometimes you need to take a step back and single them out.

Clam shells are a pretty universal exercise for working on the glute medius and minimus.  I mostly like using them when I have a client who can’t find the butt muscles, it’s hard to miss them with these!

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I have five different variations here, all addressing different movements of the hip and challenging both the stability and mobility.

  • Feet Touching, knee lifts up and down (external hip rotation, stabilized)
  • Knees Touching, foot lifts up and down (internal hip rotation, stabilized)
  • Feet a few inches apart, knee lifts up and down (external hip rotation, destabilized)
  • Knees a few inches apart, foot lifts up and down (internal hip rotation, destabilized)
  • Leg straight, toes pointed at ground

Here are some keys to remember when adding these to your exercise program:

  • Neutral spine still applies!  Many times when someone is doing these for the first time it is easy to let the low back join the party.  You need to maintain a stable lower back while producing the motion.
  • If you find that you are limited in your motion, especially when the feet or knees are touching, make sure to seek out proper medical help.  Limitations in mobility are best addressed there, and then reinforced.
  • If you find that you have greater range of motion with the knees or feet touching versus when they are separated, chances are you have a stability issue.  When a fulcrum point is used, the body is stabilized and can produce force in order to create motion.  If the range of motion decreases after you destabilize that point, that means you do not have enough strength in the joint.
  • If at any point you begin to lose range of motion while doing these, exercise is over!

Start with 10 reps from each position then progress from there.  I like using these both as a warm up and as a cool down.  Either way, they are a good pain in the butt!

-S