Many young athletes fall into the trap of focusing too much on their “beach body” muscles—the pecs, biceps, shoulders and triceps. But as they advance in their careers, they quickly realize the value of lower body work to advance to the next level.
One of the strongest muscles in the body is the gluteus maximus, and it’s in every athlete’s best interest to develop it. Doing so inevitably leads to a more powerful game.
The gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus make up the gluteal muscle complex. Each plays a vital role in most—if not all—athletic movements. Located on the outer surface of the pelvis, the medius works with the minimus to rotate the thigh during hip flexion and extension. These two muscles also support the body when you stand on one leg.
The broad, thick gluteus maximus, the largest of the group, supports the pelvis and trunk on the femur; but its most powerful movement is regaining an erect posture after the hips have been dropped toward the ground. Think of the power involved in coming up from a Squat.
Most sports require an athletic stance throughout games and sudden bursts of power for running and jumping. Much of this power comes from the gluteal muscles. Thus, serious athletes must make glute training an integral part of their workout programs.
Use the exercises below (videos above) as a starting point for developing more powerful glutes.
Jimmy Rollins Dumbbell Squat Press
This exercise represents one of the most common athletic moves—transferring power from the lower body to the upper body. Rollins uses his glutes to explode from the Squat position and transfers that power to his upper body for the Shoulder Press.
- Keep knees behind toes
- Face palms inward at the start and use a tight punching motion
Resp/Sets: 2×5-8 reps
University of Tennessee Basketball Bodyweight Reverse Lunges
Vols basketball strength and conditioning coach Troy Wills recommends this exercise, because “you’re starting to activate and use your glute more in a single-leg exercise.”
- Reach leg back as far as possible
- Sit hips down and push into back heel
- As you progress, incorporate reaching up and back
Sets/Reps: 2×5 for each leg