Aug 24, 2018
Glute Mistakes

Having strong glutes is important to many aspects of being an athlete. Unfortunately, there are many mistakes made by coaches and athletes alike when implementing exercises that work the largest muscle group in the human body. And according to a blog for The Barbell Physio by Strength Coach Meghan Callaway, these mistakes could be holding your team back from developing their glutes to their full potential.

What are the most common mistakes made during glute exercises and how can you fix them? The first that Callaway describes is using too much resistance. This can negatively affect an athlete’s form and, in turn, make any workout less successful. A common exercise in which players use too much weight is the barbell hip thrust. To fix this, Callaway suggests that athletes start small and slowly add resistance once they can perform the exercise correctly. And while using too much resistance can be an issue, the same can be said for not using enough.

“Many people shortchange their glute growing goals as they are using much less resistance than they are capable of,” writes Callaway. “…For whatever rep range you choose to adopt, if you are using the desired muscle groups, are going through your full range of motion, and are maintaining control and proper body positioning, use as much resistance as possible. This is especially true when you are performing lower risk exercises.”

The next mistake is only implementing bilateral variations of glute exercises. Callaway doesn’t recommend completely dismissing all bilateral exercises from your program. However, she does stress the importance of adding in some unilateral exercises, as many sport specific movements are done unilaterally. Exercises like the single leg deficit hip thrust can be a great way to add some variety to glute sessions. And not being open to a variety of movements is another mistake that is commonly made.

“Making sure to include bilateral and unilateral squatting and hinging variations, in addition to single leg exercises like glute bridges, hip thrusts, lunges, step-ups, and so forth, will help ensure that you are targeting all of the muscle groups in your glutes, and in all planes of motion,” writes Callaway. “In addition to the staple fundamental movements I listed above, performing exercises that involve hip abduction and external rotation will help you improve the strength, development, and overall function of this ever-important muscle group.”

No matter what movements you engage in, Callaway recommends using a variety of repetition ranges and tempos instead of sticking to one. No matter what tempo or range used though, it is important to maintain control and form at all times. Maintaining control also means being mentally and physically present throughout each exercise — something that many athletes struggle with.

“A lot of people do not perform exercises correctly as they have checked out mentally, and they are not making sure of the mind-muscle connection,” writes Callaway. “In so many cases, people accuse an exercise of being too easy, when in fact the only reason the exercise feels too easy is because they aren’t performing the exercise correctly, and this often boils down to poor mind-muscle connection, and a lack of attention to details. Mindfulness matters.”

There are also many common positioning and form mistakes made when it comes to glute exercises. During the hip thrust and glute bridge, many athletes have their feet too far forward which puts their shins at an angle. This makes the hamstrings the dominant muscle rather than the glutes. To fix this, Callaway suggests keeping the shins relatively vertical with the knees above the heels. Other times athletes might feel like their quads are doing the majority of the work, which can be caused by pushing through the forefoot and toes rather than the mid to back portion of the foot.

“This is one of the few exercises where I encourage people to abandon the tripod foot base (weight on the mid to back of the feet and all of the toes in contact with the floor, particularly the big and baby toes) and to push through the back of their feet,” writes Callaway. “In some cases, lifting the toes off the ground and focusing solely on the heels can help take the quads out of the equation, and can allow the glutes to do the majority of the work.”

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