By: Anthony Campo
All people could benefit from learning how to properly engage their core and glutes. Improved utilization of the core and glutes will lead to better mechanics in everyday life and in the gym, which can result in performance progression and the reduced risk of injuries.
How do I activate my core?
Before performing a movement, fill your stomach with air to create intra-abdominal pressure (you should feel pressure pushing back up against your glottis.) A cue to help with this concept is to swallow a belly full of air and then blow out without actually letting the air come out (like you are trying to blow up a balloon that is already maximally filled.) Once you have properly taken in a big breath and have built pressure, engage the deep down core muscles as if you are holding in going to the bathroom. Another cue is to pretend like someone is going to punch you in the stomach or drive a truck over your mid-section. The combination of the big belly breath and the contraction of all the core muscles are known as “bracing.” This is the glue that holds your mechanics together. This is most pivotal during bending, squatting, or twisting movements when trying to utilize proper mechanics and prevent back injury.
Here is a glute activation routine to perform everyday or before physical activity:
Band hip abduction
When performing these movements follow these cues in order to better engage the gluteal muscles:
– Finish the movements with hip extension facilitated mostly through the gluteal muscles instead of shooting the movement into the knees or low back.
– Pretend to spread the floor with your feet (This will help activate the glutes responsible for hip abduction.)
– While the feet are grounded, pretend to turn or “screw” the feet outward in order to activate the gluteal muscles responsible for hip external rotation.
– Keep the low back stable throughout the movements by “bracing.”
– Pre-engage accessory muscles in the lats, shoulder blades, and core before performing the movement in order to prevent wasted or translated energy to common injury areas.