March 2017 is Moon Madness, where we delve into a range of topics for a body part that’s much talked-about, little-trained. From avoiding injury, to getting the glutes you’ve always wanted, read on!
If you just strained your hamstring, like I have in the past, you’ll be wishing you trained your butt muscles more. Why? A big problem is that we spend a majority or our day sitting. This atrophies our glutes, which are supposed to be generating a lot of the force in intense movement. Since our glutes can’t handle it, hamstrings (or quadriceps) take up the slack, which leads them to become overloaded and injury-prone. Here are three steps to stop injuries before they start.
Lateral Box Steps
Find a sturdy box or flat object, 18-24in (45-60cm) tall and stand next to it. Put one foot up on the box and step sideways onto it. See this video.
Standing Raised Knee
Simply stand on one leg and raise your other knee as high as you can. Try to get to the point where you don’t need to hold anything for balance and hold for 15-30sec. This will help activate your glutes and psoas major (part of the hip flexor group).
You’ll generally need a special machine for this, although you can always perform the “rear deadlift” version. This machine allows you to focus on your glutes more than a regular squat. See it here.
The Figure 4 stretch is a pretty common mobility exercise. Just sit on the ground with one leg crossed over the other, then pulled the crossed knee towards your chest. You can even throw in a twist for your lower back, if you want.
Slightly more advanced is the Pigeon Pose. Depending on how you angle it, you’ll be stretching your glutes, hip flexors, and even a little hamstring.