SIT ALL DAY? THESE EXERCISES WILL CHANGE THE WAY YOU FEEL
When you only have so much time in your busy schedule, the goal is to work out more efficiently — not simply more. Think about it this way: you could spend thirty minutes slogging away on a treadmill, working up a bit of a sweat. But if you could spend less than thirty minutes doing a series of exercises that would have a bigger impact, isn’t that a no brainer? We think so, which is why we enlisted TB12 Body Coach and expert Paul Hagerty (LAc, CSCS) to come up with a routine for activating your glutes that would be so beneficial, you would want to stick with it for life. It’s a series that really leads to results, especially if you’re someone who spends your workday behind a computer. “Most clients here at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center spend the majority of the day sitting, and your Gluteal muscles can become under-active when you’re sitting all day,” says Hagerty. That means that when you go out into the world and try to be active — lifting something, doing routine yard work, or even working out, you’re more likely to compensate for your under-active glutes by engaging your back or another part of your body — often leading to injury. Incorporating a very specific routine into your workout combats that deactivation, and helps you to feel stronger. “These exercises will help you improve your posture, stand taller, feel less tension in your back, and more open in your hips,” Hagerty says. While athletes love these exercises because they improve power and speed, they can produce incredible results for everyone. “Your glutes support your hips, and your hips support your spine,” he says. “That means that they have a major impact on everyone’s bodies, whether they’re an athlete or not.” Ready to get started?
For each of the next 12 days, you’re going to complete these 12 glute exercises. You don’t have to give up your beloved spin class or five mile run to fit them in — just take fifteen minutes to work them into your usual fitness routine, and after 12 days, you’ll feel a significant change that will get you closer to achieving sustained peak performance. If you aren’t able to do all 12 exercises at once, Hagerty encourages you to break them up and complete them whenever you can make the time — do four exercises in the morning, four in the middle of the day, and four at night if that’s how your schedule lets you fit them all in. On top of the exercises, Hagerty recommends setting an alarm for every thirty minutes so that you never sit for longer than that without standing up and getting at least a minute of activity.
For most of these exercises you won’t need anything but your body weight, but you can add a TB12 resistance band (light to extra heavy resistance) to most of these exercises which will make them a little bit tougher and even more beneficial.
THE BIG 12
The glute bridge is the perfect exercise to start with. Start by lying on your back with your feet hip width apart, about 6-8 inches away from your butt. Using your glutes, raise your hips into the air, then slowly lower them to the floor and back up again. As you raise your hips, ensure your gluteal muscles are what’s moving your hips, and that your core is keeping stable. As you activate your glutes, you want to feel an opening in the hips, and your core should be active. Each time your hips come up, breathe out, then breathe in as you lower your hips. Repeat for 12 reps.
Use a resistance band! To make this more challenging, place a TB12 short looped band just above your knees. This added tension on your legs will help develop greater strength and power in the glutes.
Start by lying on one side of your body with your legs stacked on top each other. Bend your legs so your heels, glutes and shoulders are all aligned — if you want to put your back up against a wall that can be helpful. Activate your glute muscles and raise your top leg until it’s perpendicular to the leg on the floor, keeping your knee bent. Continue until you’re in a full external rotation, keeping your lower back still. Breathe out as you bring your leg up, and breathe in as you lower it down. Repeat for 12 reps on each leg.
Use a resistance band! Place a TB12 short looped band just above your knees. As you externally rotate your leg, you will feel the development of tension in the glutes.
BODY WEIGHT SQUATS
Start by standing in an athletic position with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart. If this is your first experience doing body weight squats, you may want to put a chair or platform behind you to sit on. Lower your body until your quads are parallel with the floor, letting your glutes do the bulk of the work. Make sure your knees don’t go past your toes. Then activate your glutes and raise your torso. It is very important to keep an active core so your upper body stays upright — don’t tilt forward! As you lower yourself you are going to breathe in, and as you raise you are going to breathe out.
Use a resistance band! There are two ways to incorporate resistance bands into this exercise: you can place a TB12 short looped band around your knees, or stand inside of a TB12 long looped band for extra full-body resistance.
Start by standing in an athletic stance with your feet a little wider than hip width apart. Take a step to the side with your left leg, then step in the same direction and distance with your right leg, then repeat. Remain in an athletic stance the whole time, keeping a wide base of support under your torso. Keeping your core active, take 12 steps in one direction, then 12 steps in the other.
Use a resistance band! Place a TB12 short looped band just above your knees.
STEP-UP AND LUNGE
Step-up and lunges are great for both glute activation and balance. Depending on your skill level you will start with a step-up (either on stairs or a stable platform) or a lunge.
For the step-up: Place one foot on the top of the platform/stair and one foot on the floor. Using the glute of the leg which is on the platform/stair, activate your glutes to raise yourself up. Once up, use that same glute activation to slowly lower yourself down.
For the single leg lunge: place one foot in front of the other. Using your core muscles (commonly referred to as the (rectus abdominas) 6 pack muscles and the obliques (transverse abdominis)) to stay up straight. Lower your torso with the gluteus of your front leg lowering you down. Once your front quad gets parallel with the floor, activate your glutes (on the front leg) to raise back up. Balance here is important, so hold on to something if you feel unstable. As you lower your body, breathe in, as you rise, breathe out.
Use a resistance band! Place a TB12 long looped band under the front foot, and around your arms crossed at chest height. As you push up, resistance will increase.
Lying on your side, stack your legs on top of each other with your knees bent, and your knees, hips, and shoulders all in a straight line on the floor. Elevate your body onto your elbow and knees. Using your gluteus medius and your core, keep your body in a stable position.
On your hands and knees, use your glutes to lift your leg toward the ceiling (knee still bent at 90 degrees), opening up your hip and keeping your heel pointed toward the ceiling. Bring that knee down, and back up for 12 reps, then switch to the other leg for 12 more reps. Keep your core active the whole time.
Start by standing with your feet hip width apart. Step out 180 degrees to your side. Lunge down until your quad gets parallel (or a few inches higher than parallel) to the ground, without letting your knee go over toes — your goal is to have your glutes both lower and raise your torso, while keeping your core active. Go for 12 repetitions, then repeat on the other side.
Start on all fours, then extend your right arm and left leg. Your left leg will kick straight back, with an activated glute and toe pointed toward the ground, and your right arm will be straight out in front of you. Keep your body stable by having an active core, and bring your arm and leg back in, then repeat 12 times. After 12, switch arms and legs.
Use a resistance band! To make this more challenging, place a TB12 long looped band around the hand and foot you’re moving.
SINGLE LEG BRIDGE
Start by lying on your back with your feet hip width apart about 6-8 inches away from your butt. Before you lift your hips into the air, raise one leg into the air so it is straight. From here, activate the glutes of the leg that is on the ground and raise your hips into the air, keeping an activated core. Lower your hips, and repeat for 12 reps, then switch to your other leg and repeat.
Start by standing with your feet wider than hip width apart, with your toes slightly pointed out. Keeping your core active, use your glutes to lower your torso. When your quads reach parallel with the floor, use your glutes to bring you back to the starting position. Remember: don’t let your knees get in front of your toes! Breathe in as you go down, and breathe out as you come up.
SINGLE LEG DEADLIFT
This exercise is also great for balance. For this exercise, hold on to something stable if you feel unbalanced. Start by standing in an athletic position with your feet hip width apart. Keeping your core active, lean forward lowering your upper torso toward the floor and lifting one leg off the ground. As your rear leg rises, your torso lowers, creating a straight line from your heel through your butt to your shoulders. As your torso and leg reach a parallel level with the floor, activate your glutes creating hip extension and return to the standing position.