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Glute Activation Exercises

by | May 31, 2019

People that have a hard time with the glute activation tests should be sure to start learning exercises to remediate glute amnesia before it becomes too much of a problem.

We should remember a couple principles in regards to improving performance in the body:

1. SAID Principle: Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demand

The body will become more resilient based on the specific tasks that we throw at it. We will adapt to these demands and it will become easier to do the work. This means that if we attempt to lift heavy things, we will get better at lifting heavy things. If we attempt to hold a challenging position for time then we will be able to do a better job holding that weight for the specified time.  If we run for a defined time at a challenging pace, it will eventually become much easier to do that run.  Obviously when it comes to glute activation exercises, the increased muscle strength and stamina means that you will cover more distance with each stride and the muscles will be able to maintain that strength for longer. 

2. Principle of Progressive Overload

Because the body adapts to demands that are placed on it according to the SAID Principle, we must be constantly challenging the body to make it more durable and to allow us to progress. These are the principles of progressive overload. If we get better at holding a yoga pose, we will need to either increase the length of time that we hold the pose of the difficulty of the pose. If it becomes easier to lift heavy things, we will need to start lifting even heavier things. It will become easier to run and we will need to increase the pace or the distance if we have a specific window of time to run in.

This progressive overload should be specific to a task though when the person is starting to get conditioned. There is some overlap though between some of these areas, especially when a person is really out-of-shape. That being said progressively making them lift more weight over time will not make it easier for a person to run for distance because the task requires different things of the body.

Mobility, Skill, Endurance and Strength

There is a certain order that people should aim to affect change. People that have trouble with injuries or performance have the ability to change their circumstances. Whenever a deficiency is discovered, the person should make strides to attempt to mitigate those deficiencies. There is a specific order to approaching this.

  1. Mobility
  2. Skill
  3. Endurance
  4. Strength

Skill is really the most important of these factors  but I will explain why mobility is first in a moment. Skill is learning how to do the movement correctly. It is learning proper form for an exercise or a new way to move. It can be learning how to fire some of the small muscles in your feet or move quickly to drop into the catch position for a clean or a snatch. Perfect repetition is the only way to master a skill. You need to do the movement slowly at first and then add things that make it more difficult, like speed or weight


Hip Bridge Progression (Gluteus Maximus m.)

  1. Hip Bridge and Hold
  2. Hip Bridge with Marching, Alternating (Lift knee a few inches off ground)
  3. Hip Bridge with Knee Extensions, Alternating (keep knee/thigh at same height but straighten knee)
  4. Hip Bridge with Opposite-Arm, Opposite-Leg Raise
  5. Single-Leg Hip Bridge, Alternating Sides with each repetition
  6. Single-Leg Hip Bridge, Consecutive Reps per side

Your hands should be placed on your hip bones and your hip should not drop on the same side when you lift the foot off the ground.


We will revising this post in the next few weeks or so to give more ideas on glute activation exercises. I wanted to get the video posted to allow people to see the exercise video.


Dr. Bryan D. Royer has been practicing chiropractic medicine in the Toledo area since 2005. He has a specialty in Sports Medicine and is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician® (CCSP®). Dr. Royer is certified as a Graston Technique® Specialist (GTS), a Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner (CKTP) and a Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES). He is also a Board-Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and he has been voted “Best in Toledo” by readers of the Toledo City Paper five times. 

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