Can we all agree that we get weaker as we get older? I'm pretty sure common sense would say your muscles don't hang around if you aren't using them.
In the science world strength declines at a very fast rate after the age of 40. So for example, a man 55 years young, even if he was an Olympic gold medal winner in weightlifting at 24, will typically lose 30-33% of the strength levels he had three decades before.
Your backside. Your rump. Your bum. Your derriere. Your backside.
When you neglect to save the largest muscle of the body we create some major issues.
The biggest reason why the glutes shut down is due to inactivity. A muscle will quit working properly if you fail to consistently activate it. It will also stop working suitably if you fail to regularly activate it to its capacity.
If your glutes are not strong, your entire lower body alignment may fall out of balance. Have you ever seen anyone walking bent over? Or how about anyone that sits in a chair and their lower back is screaming in pain? Weak glutes can lead to issues such as ACL injuries, Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, runner’s knee and IT band pain.
If the glutes are not strong enough to do their job then something has to do it for them. Other muscles will take over that work load. Which is not a good thing. The hamstrings, low back, quadriceps and calves may become over active and that can increase your risk of injury.
Strong glutes support the back. When your glutes aren’t activating as they should, your psoas muscle, a hip flexor muscle that runs from the spine to the legs, takes over. An overstressed psoas causes back pain and compression in the lower lumbar vertebrae of the spine.
Not all back pain is a result of weak glutes, but it can be a contributing factor.
I love the hip thrust exercise. It can be scaled to any fitness level and can activate glutes through a full range of motion.
One thing I like about them is that there’s a fast learning curve so clients tend to pick them up fast. They can be a little awkward at first but I’ve found some ways to improve the experience that I hope you’ll find helpful.
Pause each rep for a second at the top to help ensure that you're coming all the way up and achieving full extension. Pausing will also ensure that you’re using glutes to do the work instead of the lower back.
Position your feet in such a way that when you're at the top of the movement your shins are perpendicular to the floor.
Sometimes you will push through your toes which don't activate glutes to their full capacity. Instead your quads take too much of the load. To ensure that you are targeting glutes you should try to lift your toes off the ground. Or try to pick your toes up within your shoes.
Here's a video of a perfectly performed hip thrust.