Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist (Co-Creator of DVRT Restoration, Shoulder & Pelvic Control Courses)
It was really hard to figure out what to title this post. That is because if I wrote the post, “how to train your glute medius and minimus better” I’m not sure how many people would have been pumped to read this and PLEASE don’t leave yet!!!:)
Why is this something I wanted to discuss? Well, outside of some lateral band walks (which we will get into), I don’t think people understand or think about these muscles and more importantly how they are connected to the entire body. If I were to tell you that they are essential to low back, knee, and even shoulder health would you be more interested?
That’s right, these muscles help form the lateral chain of the body that is essential in resisting unwanted forces that put the body and joints in better positions to create movement, produce force, and not gain excessive wear and tear. Yet, telling someone at the gym that you are going to really hit that lateral chain isn’t something that you are going to hear often, if ever!
You can see by the great image the NSCA put out that these muscles (along with others that make up the lateral chain) are important for the strength we develop, our ability to be injury resilient, our mobility, and just building more efficient movement. Once we understand this value, how dow we go about developing better glute training that most people miss.
A great starting point are side planks because they truly hit the entire lateral chain. What is the lateral chain? This is a subsystem that involves gluteus medius, glute minimus, tensor fascia latae, adductor complex, and contralateral (opposite) quadratus lumborum, not muscles you think about getting buff typically at the gym. However, these are muscles that allow us to walk, run, climb stairs, and much more without falling right over, that’s pretty important. You can then see if this chain is not strong then we can have a huge amount of issues especially in the low back and knees.
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Side planks are one of those used “here and there” and usually way behind the front plank, but they shouldn’t be seen that way! It is the side plank after all that spine specialist, Dr. Stuart McGill uses in his core stability “Big 3” (along with bird dog and curl up) because of the impact lateral strength training has on our ability to be strong, resilient, and more mobile. ___________ Since we move in 3 planes of motion in life, emphasizing the ability to resist lateral forces on the body gives us the stability and strength to maximize our strength and help common issues like knees and low backs. However, instead of just holding side planks for extended periods of time, we want to sophisticate the movement when we can hold intervals of 10 seconds. ___________ Many people either can’t find how to progress the side plank well, or struggle in getting people not to have issues in their shoulders in doing so. What I show here are different #DVRT drills that make stronger connections to the chains of the body that helps us get MORE out of the side plank and teach important movement qualities at the same time. While these may LOOK similar, each tool offers us a unique opportunity to accomplish more!
What you see me do above is use different tools to train the side plank and train the lateral chain as well as improve the glute training most programs miss out upon. The leg threading drill is the most challenging of these glute training drills because its s the most dynamic and complex having our body move through all 3 planes of motion. The kettlebell side plank press is the next more challenging because it requires reflexive strength because we can’t create the tension for stability that the drill requires. That is followed by the band and finally the USB drill.
Most people mis understand the point of the USB so I have this video that better explains the side plank and how the USB helps us with better core and glute training.
Such drills are a great start and we break dow the side plank in detail in our DVRT Restoration and LIFT courses. Where people sometimes go wrong with the glute medius is when they start raising the top leg that integrates more muscles but also makes the side plank more intense. They often don’t get to full hip extension, they rotate their leg and let glute Maximus be dominant, and create compensatory patterns. Y0u can see how it should look from the post above.
The side plank is just one example of how we can integrate glute training in smarter ways to our training. Half kneeling is another example of how we can use these glute training concepts in more functional positions. As I break down this is also a great way to build upper body strength and stability while teach the body how to work better from the ground up!
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People wonder why we approach improving people’s shoulders in such different ways. We don’t use tools like landmines for pressing because they work OPPOSITE of what happens to our core when we typically press. What is better is to teach the stability of the core and pelvis that often leads to better movement of the shoulders. That combined with proper grip and driving into the feet gives us a stronger and more mobile press. ____________ That is why I love working from a 1/2 kneeling position. It often reinforces these needs while teaching the body to resist lateral motion (think of a more challenging side plank). However, you have to use the position with purpose just as I ALSO show how you hold the weight makes ALL the difference in the world! ____________ If you want to find out more you can check out our DVRT Online Educational courses or programs like my DVRT Shoulder course that you can save 25% off all with code “save25”. Just get the 🔗 in my BIO
That leads us ultimately to take these glute training ideas to more dynamic exercises. We can see them in lateral band walks but the way we do lateral band walks in DVRT is different because we know we can’t be talking glute training without also integrating the core and lats. What you see coach Robin Paget are ways we accomplish this goal and bring way more to a familiar movement!
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Add Pizzazz to Lateral Band Walks! Lateral band walks are a great exercise to strengthen the gluteus medius, which abducts the hip and assists in both internal and external rotation, making it a very important muscle for stabilizing the knee during walking and running. Enlisting the core and upper body makes this a more integrated exercise and may distract you from your side butt agony. These variations function very well in a warmup or workout. Shoutout to @dvrtfitness_uk @jessicabento_mpt and @joshhenkindvrt for teaching me these! #glutes #gluteworkout #sidebutt #glutemedius #functionaltraining #totalbodyworkout #personaltrainer #ultimatesandbag #dvrt #coretraining #gluteloop
Finally we can get to where we use these glute training and lateral concepts to more functional training based movement patterns. That means we can use them in our hip hinges, squats, presses, pulling, pretty much any drill if we focus on functional training concepts like these rather than just isolating muscles or exercises that don’t show more dimension to what they create. To me, that is the most exciting part of what we do in DVRT and hope it gives you more solutions to make your training more fun and so much more effective.
Check out so much more information in our DVRT Online Courses where you can even set-up payment plans to make it easier to get the information (sorry only for US customers) and save 30% with code “dvrt30” HERE