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Stop Squeezing The Glutes

sandbag exercise equipment

If you have coached in the fitness industry long enough, you have those memories of times you really regret what you cued or even taught certain movements. A perfect example is a popular cue “squeeze those glutes”. Like so many people, I used that cue because I was taught that is what you did to get people to use their glutes. Unfortunately, the more you learn how our bodies work you realize that this is NOT a great cue!

Why not? Well, my easiest example is have you ever done anything in life where you had to consciously squeeze your glutes? Were you walking down the street and then decided to squeeze your glutes? Did you go on a hike and decide to squeeze your glutes? Have you ever gone for a run and thought about squeezing your glutes every step? Probably not.

That is because the glutes actually work as a byproduct of the feet and achieving full hip extension. How do the feet attached to the glutes? Dr. Ayaz explains exactly the issues the feet can cause the glutes…


Research shows that injury to the foot and ankle can cause alterations in how the glutes are used. 

1. Peroneus longus is involved in lateral line.
It is connected to deep gluteal muscles. If one of them is not functional, the other one can be affected.

2. Tibialis posterior is invloved in deep front line. It is engaged with hip adductors, pelvic floor and diaphragm. Again, if its dysfunctional, the upper part of the lower limb can be affected.

3. Abductor hallucis is involved in spiral line as well as deep front line since it is connected to tibialis posterior and peroneus longus.

Foot is as important as glutes.

If overpronation of foot presents, thoes muscles can be overloaded then the glutes may not be able to contract effectively which can lead to lower limb injuries, lower back pain and others.

According to research, ankle pronation activates medial part of hamstring. Conversely, ankle supination contributes to the contraction of lateral hamstring.

Why am I mentioning this?

Imagine. What if overpronation of the foot happened?

You are losing your medial arch which should be supported by abductor hallucis. Then, it facilitates adductor hallucis which can deviate your 1st MPJ into adduction. This toe deformity can result in reduced 1st toe plantar flexion. This is needed for you to push off sufficiently. If not, what can happen?

Yes. You are losing hip extenxion. Your gluteal contraction can be limited as a result. Therefore, this type of people have overactivation of hamstring.

Overpronation of the foot may be associated with underactive glutes and overactive hamstring.

Therefore, releasing the plantar foot muscles with a tennis ball often increases the flexibility of the tight hamstring.”

This is important because we want to make sure to cue pressing down into the foot as well as achieving that full hip extension to get the glutes to work their best and not focus on squeezing the glutes. Find out below how we put this idea in practice to not only get better looking glutes, but glutes that work properly with the rest of the posterior chain.

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These hip bridges that physical therapist, Jessica Bento shows teach us to drive through the foot and get that full hip extension while use core stability to control our movement. 

Cuing the feet in more dynamic strength training allows us to concentrate on using the glutes correctly as well as the entire posterior chain. Focusing on driving through the feet will allow us to achieve that full hip extension especially when we combine it with proper core stability in the way we use and hold the Ultimate Sandbag.