Recently I was featured by glute training expert Bret Contreras as the Glute-Specific Gym of the Month. What an honor! We highlighted how we train our athletes' glutes, and we think we are innovating in training this critical area of performance and aesthetics.
We focus our training on variations of Squats, Hip Thrusts, Deadlifts, Jumps and Sprints. A few exercises use Mark Bell's Hip Circle, which we've found highly effective in getting extra glute activation on many movements.
Pieces of equipment like this are great to use to help athletes focus on proper form. We've all seen the infamous photo of Robert Griffin III performing his broad jump at the NFL Combine. If RG3 had trained his glutes more specifically by performing exercises highlighted in this article, I wonder whether he would he have been injured. There's no way to know that, of course, but I want to make sure all of our athletes perform movements with optimal force production and great motor control.
Originally we started using the Hip Circle to help our athletes with knee valgus (knees moving inward during the Squat or Deadlift). When the knees begin to buckle inward, more stress is placed on the meniscus, MCL and ACL. Motor control is crucial for optimal mechanics, and we use the Hip Circle to help program neuromuscular efficiency. Here are a few exercises for which beginners can use the Hip Circle:
- Side Band Walks
- Crouching Forward Walks
- Backward Walks
- Squat Mechanics
Besides these elementary uses, we began thinking outside the box to see how we could implement the Hip Circle to address weakness in strength. Here are some isolating movements:
- Side-Lying Isometric Partner-Assisted Abductions
- Jump Rope / Jumping Jacks
- Glute Ball Bridges (aim for five minutes)
A significant part of my teaching at Show Up Fitness is to require all of our trainers to train one another. How hypocritical would it be for personal trainers not to invest in the product they're selling? When my trainers and I began training each other, I challenged everyone to come up with new exercises. Creatively, we came up with uses for the Hip Circle on other exercises besides the basic purpose.
- Deadlift Walks
- Warm-Up Drills
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock