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Why Glute Training Is Silly

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This isn’t clickbait, I honestly think the mentality of glute training is quite silly. Why just the glutes? Which gluteal muscles? Since the glutes are not designed to work by themselves, why do we take the approach of trying to focus on them so exclusively.

Even in the case of issues like gluteal amnesia, people largely don’t get it. The original thought behind the term had NOTHING to do with the strength of the glutes. In fact, spine expert, Dr. Stuart McGill explains, “Rather deficits in motion and motor patterns have been documented as being more critical and thus should be targets for therapeutic exercise. For example, people with troubled backs use their backs more. Generally, they walk, sit, stand and lift using mechanics that increase back loads. Many of them have stronger backs but are less endurable than matched asymptomatic controls. They tend to have more motion in their backs and less motion and load in their hips. A common aberrant motor pattern is known as “gluteal amnesia” which may be both a common consequence of back troubles and probably a cause of them as well.”

A “motor pattern” not the strength of the glutes! For most people, this is very confusing, what does this even mean? It means that how the glutes work with other muscles like the hamstrings and low back is what is key. Isolating the glutes isn’t the answer, but what about a hip bridge? The point of the hip bridge is to help fix this motor pattern by shortening the hamstrings to start and teaching the glutes to fire in the right sequence with the other posterior chain muscles. The hip bridge wasn’t meant to be this huge glute training exercise, rather a re-education of the muscles of the backside of the body to work correctly.


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Now there are those that will automatically jump onto the, “but I feel my glutes more when I…” As I shared not too long ago, there is a really interesting new study that showed that “feeling” a muscle work was actually a bad indicator of actual muscle growth.

glute training

According to the study, “Finally, we also verbally asked participants which exercise they “felt more” in the gluteal muscles after testing both exercises. All participants indicated they felt the hip thrust more in the gluteal region. However, these data were not quantified and, despite these anecdotal sensations and sEMG differences indicating more gluteus muscle excitation during HT, hip thrust RT and squat RT elicited similar applied outcomes.”

So, this tells us isolating the glutes doesn’t make them grow anymore than integrating them and we know isolating the glutes does not improve the way they work with other muscles and make us better in and out of the gym. Whereas a squat makes the glutes grow just as much AND we get overall muscle hypertrophy. This SHOULD tell us when we focus on exercises that integrate more and require more stability, we get better glute training without focusing on glute training.

Lina Midla shows how we train the glutes more effectively through more integrated movements and moving in wide variety of stances and directions. The glutes are tri-planar muscles meaning they are MADE to work in more integrated ways that support us to be powerful when we walk, run, and jump, but also not fall over because of the three dimensional forces acting upon our body.

We shouldn’t think about individual muscles, that is largely an ineffective way of approaching a large amount of fitness goals (yes, even building muscle as we just showed) and focus on movement patterns like hip hinging, squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, rotation, and locomotion. When we do so, we get better muscle building, strength development, and mobility all at once. Sounds good right?

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