By Jim Goetz
The gluteus maximus muscle is one of the most prominent and prolific muscles on the human body. It's a sign of dominance as the gluteus maximus muscle is the prime contributor to athletic abilities such as running and jumping. It is also a good indicator of chronic pains should one have a deficient gluteus maximus.
The gluteus maximus muscle is one of the largest in the body and responsible for movement of the hip and thigh. A quick anatomy lesson- all muscles have antagonist muscles to them. These are muscles that move in the opposite direction and work synergistically in order to prevent the prime mover (in this case the gluteus maximus) from excessive movement. The antagonist muscles of the gluteus maximus are: the psoas major, psoas minor, illiacus, and illiopsoas (the aggregation of all of these previously mentioned muscles). The combination of these muscles is collectively known as the “hip flexors”. The gluteus maximus is a hip extensor.
The position in which accommodate most of our days is sitting. We sit at work. We sit while driving. We sit while eating. We even sit while sitting. While seated, our gluteus maximus is elongated and hip flexors shortened. Excessive shortening of a muscle causes chronic tightness and with chronic tightness comes a plethora of pain. As the psoas muscle directly attaches to the lumbar spine; should it be chronically tight, your spine may not move properly through it's full range of motion. As a result, other intrinsic and extrinsic muscles in the low back region may become chronically tight, fatigued and result in inflammation to the region. The word inflammation is universal for pain. Where there is inflammation, there is most likely pain.
Taking a look at the vanity side of the gluteus maximus; most top athletes have a prominent buttocks. The power generated from their back side helps with their success. Thus from a psychological perspective, most individuals prefer others with a developed tuckus.
Developing the gluteus maximus is not a simple task. Simply standing and walking is not going to build strong, effective and functional glutes. People walk miles and miles each day and still have a flat back side.
There are a few exercises that are highly effective. They have been found effective through extensive research to determine which motions create the highest firing of muscle fibers.
The absolute most effective exercise (as per research at the publication of this article) to build glutes (focusing on hyperextension) are the single-leg bent leg reverse hyper (122%), hip thrust (119%), pendulum quadruped hip extension (112%), bent-leg reverse hyper (111%). As most gyms or homes do not have a single-leg bent leg reverse hyper machine; let's focus on the hip thrust.
The Hip Thrust is a glute exercise designed to improve your strength, speed and power and results in hypertrophy (nice booty) by performing the movement of optimal hip extension. This means optimal power.
Many exercises so many perform are leg presses, squats and lunges. While these are decent movements, they do not fully maximize hip extension and your glutes are not fully engaged. These movements may look cool but you must realize your optimal goal. Do you want to do what looks cool or achieve your goal?
Placement of Feet, Neck and Hands
Your feet should be directly under your knees. When you fully extend your hips into the lift, your knees will make a 90-degree angle with the ground.
Your neck should ALWAYS remain neutral. Pretend you have a fresh egg under your chin throughout the lift—if you squeeze too hard, you'll break it, or if you lift up your chin, you'll drop it. Place your hands either on top of the bar or directly under the bar, once you have lifted it off the ground.
Once you have taken the necessary steps to set up the thrust properly, use correct form throughout the lift. It's important to engage your glutes throughout the lift. Before the lift, visualize your brain sending messages to your glutes to help your body understand where you should be "feeling it."
The lift should be executed smoothly with the glutes lifting the majority of the weight. It's not the end of the world if you feel it in your lower back—but that's probably a sign that it's weak. If you perform it properly, you should feel a nice strong pump in your glutes.
Common Mistakes and Bio-Hacks to Overcome Them
Sometimes individuals state they feel it in their quads and not their butt.
1. Bring your feet closer to your butt.
2. As you push your gluteus maximus directly up to the ceiling, push outwards with your feet as you drive through your heels. This will help better engage your glutes.
3. If you still "feel it" in your quads, realize you are pushing back into the box/ mat/ ball and not fully thrusting your glutes straight up. Visualize moving your glutes straight up and straight down with no deviation towards your feet or head.
How Much, How Often?
If you wish to go full tilt and marbles to the wall....
1. Complete this movement on 3 non- consecutive days per week with no more than 1 day in between.
2. Day 1- 3 sets 13-15 repetitions
3. Day 2- 3 sets 9-12 repetitions
4. Day 3- 3 sets 6-8 repetitions
*Note that 3 sets is for the advanced individual. If you have just began to utilize resistance training into your routine, then you will achieve the same benefit from 1 set. For the experienced individual or athlete, 3 sets is more appropriate.
Lather, rinse and repeat for the next few weeks and begin to notice a change. Lather, rinse and repeat over the next few months and adjust your program with an educated and experienced strength and conditioning coach and truly notice a difference. Lather, rinse and repeat over your lifetime and reach new levels of success.
*There are variations on this but for simplicity sake, advanced human performance strength and conditioning programming was omitted.
Start this now...today...this moment...and you will be well on your way to not only a nice dunka-dunk but also increase your ability to jump higher, run faster, attract a mate and reduce your chances of low back pain.
#BioHackerNation#BioHackHumans #BioHackerButt #BioHackGlutes #madscientist
1. Netter, Frank H. Atlas of Human Anatomy. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders/Elsevier, 2006. Print.
2. Andersen, Vidar; Fimland, Marius Steiro; Mo, Dag-Andrè, et. al., Elecromyographic Comparison of Barbell Deadlift, Hex Bar Deadlift and Hip Thrust Exercises: A Cross- Over Study. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. January 30, 2017 (PDF)
3. Zourdos, Michael C.; Jo, Edward; Khamoui, Andy V. et. al., Modified Daily Undulating Periodization Model Produces Greater Performance Than a Traditional Configuration in Powerlifters. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. March 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 3 - p 784–791
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