56x11 - what is the approach you use to hit glutes in RFESS?
What is your torso angle (leaned forward or upright), is your stride long or short, and how high is the box your rear leg is on?
Are there any other cues you personally use to hit glutes with the RFESS?
And what other lunge variation (slide board reverse, forward…etc…) do you feel hits the glutes better than RFESS?
I suppose I could give exact angles of my torso, forward leg, rear leg, etc. However, I believe that you need to take the information that I and others gave and experiment to see what works for you.
I don’t do the forward lunges because it creates unnecessary shearing stress on the patellar tendon. In fact, I’m of the opinion that forward walking lunges are actually an advanced movement (it kills me to see beginners do this). Reverse lunges are better IMO.
There is a finite amount of stress that my body, your body, anyone’s body can endure before something tears, ruptures, or breaks. Therefore, I manage my program and my peoples’ programs the way a savvy investor manages money. I will only allocate so much risk to one movement pattern, check my balance sheet, and know exactly how much I have to allocate to another movement so I am never at the risk of being physically bankrupt. And because I put so much effort into my RFESS, I see no need to add walking lunges on top of that. This is just me, though. Some people respond quite well to walking lunges; and as long as they manage that risk I mentioned, it’s really their choice.
As for the height of the bench my leg rests on, it’s lower than what most people typically use. I never took the time to measure it. I estimate 12-14 inches. Again - this is what works for me. You will need to experiment with different heights.
I do keep the tibia close to perpendicular. The first reason that I do this is, again, managing risks to my knees. It bears repeating that many do bring the tibia forward with little to no issues. If it works for them, fine. I know what keeps me injury-free, pain-free, and training consistently.
One thing you can try is doing the RFESS with shoes such as chuck taylors. The Oly style shoes, with the elevated heels, will actually promote quad recruitment.
I mentioned the unilateral RDLs as well as the split stance RDLs. One trick you can use is hold the weight ONLY in the contralateral hand. Those who think they know strength and conditioning will tell you the glutes extend the hip. This is primarily what the gluteus maximus does. What most people do not realize is that the gluteus medius and minimus also isometrically stabilizes the pelvis and eccentrically decelerates hip external rotation (there are several other functions I won’t go into right now).
When holding the dumbbell in the contralateral hand, the weight is trying to rotate you towards it. And by resisting this as you perform hip extension, you are engaging the medius, and minimus in ways that a hip thrust cannot. Even the glute max has to stabilize. And even if you choose to perform the hip thrust unilaterally, the mere fact that your torso is braced against a bench greatly eliminates much of what can be accomplished with what I described.
This is NOT an anti-hip thrust rant. I personally don’t do it because I don’t need to; however, I can easily how others can benefit from it.
Another variation on the unilateral RDL that I teach is to stand close enough to a stable object within arms reach. As the load becomes more challenging, use the free hand to touch that stable object the INSTANT you feel yourself losing balance. Just a touch here and there as needed. This is a great transitional variation from the split-stance to the standard unilateral version. And don’t forget to actively engage the glute of the “non-working” leg. Very similar to the advice I gave earlier when doing the RFESS.
Now, when doing the RFESS, try holding the db on the SAME side as the lead leg. This is the opposite of what I described when doing uni-RDLs. The weight should hang along the plumb line, close to the pelvis. I’ve noticed with myself and others that if the weight is held in both hands or across the back, the rear leg - especially the hip flexors - tend to engage more readily.
These are some variation and cues that I hope you find helpful. Quite honestly, I just scratched the surface but this should be enough to set you on your path.
So read my initial post again as well as the advice others gave you. Give your mind a chance to assimilate it all and be patient. If you don’t obtain a glute epiphany on your first, second, or third session, don’t turn your gym visits into a Greek tragedy.
We all have trouble body parts. The key is patience, training intelligently, and consistency.