By Running Divas Ambassador Cassandra Bright
One of the first (and most important I believe) things I learnt at my first Personal Training session was how to activate my glutes and other large muscles groups. Sure, I’d exercised before and even lifted a weight or two, but I’d never learnt correct technique or even heard about ‘activating’ muscles or my core. When you learn how to activate muscle groups it is amazing how much more you get out a of work out, also how you are less likely to injure yourself.
Here are a few of the activation exercises I learnt and still use today:
Band Side Step
- Place exercise band around both legs just above your knee
- Standing tall hinge from your waist and soften your knees with hands on your hips
- Take 6-10 steps to your right, rest and repeat to your left, do 3 sets on each leg
- Place exercise band around both your legs just above your knee, lay on your side supporting your head with your hand
- Bend knees up towards your hips, feet together
- Lift your knee upwards and lower, 10 times on each leg, do 3 sets on each leg (you should be able to feel your glute muscles engaging if your technique is correct)
- Place exercise band around both legs just above your knee, lay on your back with knees bent and arms down your side
- Lift your pelvis up whilst squeezing your butt (glutes), hold for a second or two and then lower pelvis to the starting position, repeat 10 times, do 3 sets
Learning how to activate my glutes then led to being able to work my glutes with exercises such as barbell squats and deadlifts, all of which have helped make me stronger with my running technique. So, do yourself a favour and get to know your glutes, they will only reward you.