It’s Friday morning and I’ve just ridden down to the office for a yap with Anthony.
I found him slumped all over the chair after a run down on the coast.
Turns out he’s brutal at it and reckons even his eyebrows have DOM’s.
Anyway, the conversation ran into talking about a few queries we’ve had in relation pre-ride glute activation.
Partly because I mentioned that Anthony himself should certainly be doing some prior to his runs!
You don’t need to spend a tonne of time on them either or do a whole load of fancy moves.
All about the buns
You see almost if not all leg exercises such as a squat, lunge or any variation requires you to engage and use your glutes.
However the problem arises when you don’t engage them or they are not being used to their full capacity.
How often are your glutes really sore after a ride or a leg session?
Answer is probably rarely…
This shouldn’t be the case for the biggest muscle group in your body and a pivotal muscle group for a cyclist to use to its their working capacity.
What’s causing it?
Jobs that require a lot of sitting down have a huge part to play in this.
The population is becoming increasingly sedentary at the end of the day.
Bloody office jobs!
Just because you ride for an hour a day and call yourself a cyclist doesn’t mean you’re anywhere near highly active!
Particularly if you’re sitting down for 10 hours or more for the rest of the day.
Why should I care?
Along with slowing down your metabolism heaps, like anything that goes unused for long periods of time, your glute muscles start to knock off or become ‘underactive’.
Asides from missing out on potential watts that riders pay thousands for down at the bike shop, other muscles begin taking on the extra work load, which can cause tightness, pain, postural issues and eventually injury – for example in your lower back.
How do I change this without spending a tonne of time on it?
Glute activation work
Isn’t glute activation just like a warm up?
Yes, but specifically for your glutes and if your glutes are not firing properly they won’t be warmed up during your normal cycling warm up routine.
Here are a couple of exercises you can do before your ride to fire up those arse cheeks.
While ideal for a doing pre-ride don’t be afraid to break up the sedentary office behaviour with a couple of moves throughout the day.
Donkey kicks/Hip extension –
Start on all fours (picture 1)
- Line your wrists are directly beneath your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips.
- Complete the move shown in picture 2 slow and controlled, before returning to the all four position.
- Complete 20 repetitions on each side x 1 set.
- Don’t arch your back!
- Also remember you’re trying to make your glutes do the work here not your lower back.
Side leg raises –
- Lie on your back with your hands down by your sides, legs bent and feet planted on the floor.
- Lift your right leg off the floor.
- While keeping your hips level and as stable as possible, squeeze your glutes and slowly raise your hips off of the floor, resting on your upper back. (Bottom pic)
- Once stable, place one leg out in front of you (picture 2) Slowly lower to floor and repeat until you have completed 20 reps on each side x 1 set.
- You can make this exercise easier by doing it with both legs.
- Lie on your right side with a slight bend in your legs resting on top of each other (top pic).
- Keeping your feet together, gently raise your left knee off of your right.
- Raise your knee as high as possible without your two feet separating, slowly lower it to bring your knees together again.
- Complete 20 reps on each side x 1 set.
Complete each of these exercises before starting your next ride and feel the difference!
The key thing to remember when focusing on each of these exercises is technique, it’s not a race!
A nice – slow and well controlled technique is key.
These exercises are just three of a vast amount you can get your teeth into, you can get far more advanced and even incorporate resistance bands and the likes which are super for glute work.
These three are a great starting point with no equipment needed however.
So get on it and get those glutes firing!