Below you will find three very simple but effective exercises to work on your glute engagement. These exercises can be used as a part of your rehabilitation program, after consulting the professional who is looking after you, and as a part of your warm up before more complex activities such as squatting, lunging, deadlifting and getting involved into sports requiring running, changing in direction, jumping and pedalling.
Exercise 1 – Hip Extension in Prone:
Lie on your front. Before lifting the leg up ensure that you consciously squeeze the glute of the leg that you are about to lift up. You should be able to feel your bum tight and squeezed.
Then lift the leg up maintaining the engagement of the glutes and hold for 3 seconds. Remember that it does not matter how high you lift your leg, what counts is that you feel the glute engagement and that your leg is off the floor.
Moreover, lifting your leg up too high causes overarching of your lower back, so if you already suffer from lower back pain, it is likely that it can aggravate it. Return the leg down to the ground and repeat on the other side.
Exercise 2 – Hip Abduction In Side Lying:
Lie on your side. Squeeze your glutes and only then lift your leg up. Hold for three seconds.
Ensure that you actually feel the squeeze in your glutes. It will feel different to the previous exercise as this one is focusing on glute mid and min so you should be feeling engagement higher up in the hip and more to the outside of the hip.
You will also feel some tension in the outside of your upper thigh, however, it is normal as it will be your tensor fascia latae which is engaging. These muscle groups are working very closely to one another, so as long as you feel your glutes engaging too, try and emphasise that squeeze.
Exercise 3 – Good Mornings:
Stand tall and slowly bend forward from your hips keeping minimal bend in your knees. When you start feeling a gentle stretch in your hamstring stand back up again keeping your back straight and squeezing your glutes through the movement and at the end of it.
Again all of this might feel awkward and unusual, but with practice and consistency it will become normal.
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