Glute training and the quest for better glutes has taken off over the last 5 years, and has almost created its own industry within the fitness industry. We’ve seen the explosion of social media exercises, tools and gimmicks and even facilities that have the sole focus of developing glutes.
In the quest for developing better glutes we often see lower body workouts incorporating 5 or 6 glute focused exercises including squats, then lunges followed by leg presses and hip thrusters, then followed by some cable kickbacks. These might all be great options. However the question you need to ask is whether we are appropriately challenging all the other important muscles around the hip?
If I recommended you do 5 different Bicep Curl exercises every training session and 1 Tricep exercise every now and again most people would recognise this wouldn’t be a good idea. It could potentially risk overtraining and injuring Biceps, and also lead to joint instability or at very least slow progression of bicep curls if you never train the other side. However, when it comes to the backside of the hip, this is typically what happens.
The analogy I find most effective to highlight this is to relate it to food. It is similar to eating boiled carrots, followed by steamed carrots, baked carrots, then maybe some raw carrots and carrot soup. Is it better to eat carrots 5 different ways each meal or perhaps eat 5 different vegetables? This is not only for the nutritional value, but also eating carrots 5 ways would become quite boring.
Could this approach to building better glutes be improved?
Here’s something to consider:
How many exercises are you doing for the front of your hip? How often do you challenge your Hip Flexors or Adductors?
When you do a hip extension exercise such as a squat, you are reliant not only on your quads and glutes, but also a bunch of other muscles to help maintain the integrity of the hip joint. For instance your adductors, abductors and hip flexors. These muscles might have some role as joint managers (RTS 2019). When you are looking to bias specific musculature, your ability to hold everything else still plays a crucial role. By improving your ability to stabilise your pelvis, could you actually then improve your ability to squat more weight in the long run? Might this then lead to improved development of the glutes? Possibly.
The below image is useful for looking at the direction the fibres in the front of the hip as well as some activities that include the front of the hip. Ultimately it might make sense to train these sometimes along with the back of the hip
Next time you train your glutes, take some time to think if it is the best use of your time to train the glutes multiple times, or whether it might be better use the limited time to train other areas of the body which you may have been ignoring. In the long run you may even find this leads to better development of your glutes and greater resilience to injury as a result.