4 Things You Should Know About Glutes

We see tons of photos with individuals highlighting their backsides on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snap Chat. I personally respect the obedience it takes into the training anyone dedicates themselves to in order to become a better version of self. But I have an issue with the lack of information provided by those of superior physical stature. When you are reading the content of "experts" or listening to the podcasts, YouTube videos, interviews with popular stars on how they achieved such a 'perfect' body make sure that you discern the difference of science and opinion. 9 times out of 10 they are giving you their opinion and personal insight on what they did and chalking it up to the holy grail of exercise. To give an example of this notion, do you remember the squat challenge. It makes me chuckle just thinking about all the trending pictures. I would show some examples but I would rather keep this blog free of content that has no scientific backing. Mind you, everything can't be explained by science. Their are many things related to health and fitness that have very little research or conflicting research. But human anatomy and physiology is still the same. Lets sum it up. The glutes produce hip extension and external rotation. They are primarily fast twitch, high force producing and very difficult to fatigue. To paint the picture of what this looks like think of a skating stride in hockey. The toe turns out so the flat of the blade can dig into the ice (external rotation and abduction - leg moves away from the body), and then the hip extends back into the ice to provide some forward movement (hip extension).

4 Glute Myths: 1) Squats and deadlifts aren't the best exercises for building bigger, stronger glutes. We see pictures of squats and lunges as the centerfold for being the 'booty builders' and while they are beneficial and make the glutes sore; they target the quads and erector spinae. Even box squatting, walking lunges and sumo deadlifts don't activate much glute in comparison to some other exercises. It's not that people don't know how to use their glutes or use proper form. The glutes just aren't maximally involved in squatting, lunging and deadlifting. Glutes are maximally contracted from bent-leg hyperextension exercises (examples: Hip Thrust, Reverse Hyperextensions)

2) Cardio burns fat in the glute - ham area. I see so many physique athletes slaving away for hours on the stair master, claiming that it sheds fat and etches in the details of the glute-ham tie in. Which by the way is not a muscle. The Stepmill can indeed hit the type I fibers and potentially aid in total muscle building efforts. However, this could also be accomplished via incline walking, cycling, the elliptical, or simply adding in some high-rep, low-load resistance training. I'm not saying that cardio (or the stair master) should be avoided; just know that it doesn't preferentially burn fat in the glutes or hamstrings.

3) There are special exercises to shape the glute - ham tie in.  There is no glute -  ham tie in muscle. The next time someone tells you this ask them, "What is that muscle called?" and listen to the crickets after that. Ha. The gluteus maximus is one muscle. The hamstrings have a supporting cast which are comprised of (biceps femoris long head, semitendinosus, semimembranosus and finally, the adductor magnus). There are plenty of exercises that do a great job of activating the glutes and hamtrings at the same time and there are also plenty of exercises that might make you feel sore in the lower region of your glutes (walking lunges, bulgarian squats). However, if you want to maximize the muscularity of the glutes and hamstrings, you'll need to perform a variety of exercises. No single exercise will optimally build both muscles.

4) Having nice glutes are genetic and can't be built. Glutes are a muscle believe it or not. Some people are genetically pre-disposed for certain body parts being more over powering than others. We could make a case for many things like athletic background, parental DNA and environment. But truth be told we all can strengthen this muscle. It just takes effort, time and some patience. The weapon of choice for glute development is the hip thrust exercise. Hip thrusts can be performed with a barbell, with bands, or one leg at a time. However, no exercise on its own will optimally develop any muscle. Another thing to note is if your body fat isn't low enough your glutes aren't going to look as good. Attaining low body fat levels is best achieved through a periodized combination of dieting, strength training, and cardiovascular training. So we can lose the excuses of, "I am stuck with a flat butt." "My parents had no butt so that's why I have no butt." "I'm too old now to have a butt." Last I checked the glutes are still a muscle which means we can break it down and repair for growth.

The glutes are sleeping giants. Dormant and underused with tons of potential. Go unlock yours.