Glute activation workout to include in your warm-up – Stylist Magazine

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Strong Women
Don’t forget to add activation into your warm-up for stronger glutes.
You know about the importance of warming-up before working out to get your muscles feeling looser, work through your range of motion and mentally prep for your training session. While a mix of cardio and mobility training before working out is always advised, a good warm-up shouldn’t neglect muscle activation – particularly of the glutes.
Why these muscles in particular? Well, it all comes down to counteracting the impact of sitting down. 
The gluteus maximus are the biggest muscles in the body, which is why they’re often referred to as the ‘powerhouse’. They help keep your core, hips, and back in alignment, and are responsible for helping to keep you upright and putting one leg in front of the other when you walk or run. 
Unfortunately, modern life isn’t designed with our glutes in mind. The body performs best at the activities it does most often – so in the case of a modern-day desk worker, your body has mastered the art of sitting down. “We spend so long without the glutes working or moving that we need to almost wake the muscles up,” says Emma Obayuvana, fitness trainer from the Strong Women Collective.  
It is in this all-too-common seated position that the hip flexor muscles shorten and the glute muscles become less loaded. That means that when you then jump into your workout to perform lower-body strengthening exercises, your glute muscles might not be primed to take the load. But it’s also about setting up the neurological pathways, too: “For me, activation is about establishing a mind to muscle connection,” says Emma. “It is frustrating when you’re just not feeling an exercise like you should. Activation allows you to get into your body and think about form.”
Think of it this way: activation is to your muscles, as coffee is to your brain – helping them to ‘wake up’, in a sense. In a 2017 study in the British Medical Journal, researchers found that “gluteal activation exercises as part of a warm-up will facilitate the use of the gluteal muscle group during activity.” Essentially, this means that activating your muscles puts more emphasis on your glutes in your training, making them stronger and helping you avoid pain and injury. 
While glute activation is ideal to do before performing lower-body moves to really make sure you are targeting the muscles, it is also important that you activate the glutes before you run. This is because the glutes can properly stabilise the hips and avoid ‘knee valgus’ (when the knees rotate inwards). 
Doing activation alongside mobility training will also “support your joints so you can truly move through a full active range of motion,” says Emma. 
So how do you do it? Using these isolation moves to target the glutes. “I like to use a resistance band, placed just above my knees, to really target the glute quickly, but they are still effective without,” says Emma. “If you don’t have any bands to add, work with tempo by going a little slower and really focus on the mind to muscle connection.”
Repeat 20 times.  
Repeat 10 times each side. 
Repeat 15 times on each side. 
Repeat 10 times each side. 
Repeat 15 times each side. 
Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk’s fitness brand Strong Women. When she’s not writing or lifting weights, she’s most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).
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