T Nation

Small Activation Exercises, Volume


#1

So i have weak glutes and problems activating them.
I activate (and strengthen?) the glutes with glute bridges.

My confusion is about 2 different approaches and i wonder if both are possible approaches or if one is far superior.

With for example the bridges, i went from 3x20 to 5x30 and it got my glutes really tight to a point where i have new problems because of that...(inflammation)

This got me wondering is it a possible approach to just keep expanding the number of sets/reps. Will that help me activate the glutes better in the future because i make a lot of reps untill i have better control over them or is that not how it works?

Or is the best way to activate them with say 3x20 bridges and than squat afterwards and build strength in the glutes this way? (and keep doing 3x20 every training)

So basically im asking, long story short lol;

Does adding reps and sets to the same glutebridges has potential for my weak glutes that i have a problem activing with.
Or is the regular way to improve this, doing the same rep/sets just for activation and use other compound exercises like squat or dead to strengthen them?


#2

Are you capable of fully activating your glutes in a squat? Can you voluntarily contract them with light weights even without activation drills?


#3

[quote]dt79 wrote:
Are you capable of fully activating your glutes in a squat? Can you voluntarily contract them with light weights even without activation drills? [/quote]

I think i can contract them fully after activating exercises.

Without activating exercises usually i have lots of trouble voluntarily contracting them, it usually depends on what i did the day(s) before. But sometimes id say i can contract them only about 20%.


#4

Don’t add so many reps. Find a way to do a “harder” variation, and progress forward.

-Clam shell
-You can do bridges with a short resistance band around your knees
-Single legged bridges
-45 Back Raises
unweighted
weight held to chest
weight behind head
-Lunges
unweighted
goblet style
1 dumbbell “suitcase style”
-Pull Thru’s on a low cable
-Stiff Legged dumbbell deadlifts, really driving the hips “in” at the top

“Feel” how your glutes work during the bridge. Soon, you’ll be ready to move on. Carry that glute activation and neutral spine position into the next, harder lift.

Then, squat, and “feel” your glutes working the same way, to make your squat smoother.


#5

[quote]FlatsFarmer wrote:
Don’t add so many reps. Find a way to do a “harder” variation, and progress forward.

-Clam shell
-You can do bridges with a short resistance band around your knees
-Single legged bridges
-45 Back Raises
unweighted
weight held to chest
weight behind head
-Lunges
unweighted
goblet style
1 dumbbell “suitcase style”
-Pull Thru’s on a low cable
-Stiff Legged dumbbell deadlifts, really driving the hips “in” at the top

“Feel” how your glutes work during the bridge. Soon, you’ll be ready to move on. Carry that glute activation and neutral spine position into the next, harder lift.

Then, squat, and “feel” your glutes working the same way, to make your squat smoother.[/quote]

Tx!

Do you happen to know if the prospect is to be able to fully activate muscles without extra activating exercises beforehand after a certain while?

I tried to advance to single leg bridges, but they are just a little too hard at the moment so they put stress on my hipflexors and make me cramp up, but your post does make sense so i’ll just try to start really slow with if necessary singles or something.


#6

[quote]Respeezy wrote:

[quote]dt79 wrote:
Are you capable of fully activating your glutes in a squat? Can you voluntarily contract them with light weights even without activation drills? [/quote]

I think i can contract them fully after activating exercises.

Without activating exercises usually i have lots of trouble voluntarily contracting them, it usually depends on what i did the day(s) before. But sometimes id say i can contract them only about 20%.[/quote]

Ok. Then I doubt you should have problems with squatting. You can dedicate 1 day to the squat and another day to glute isolation exercises.


#7

[quote]dt79 wrote:

[quote]Respeezy wrote:

[quote]dt79 wrote:
Are you capable of fully activating your glutes in a squat? Can you voluntarily contract them with light weights even without activation drills? [/quote]

I think i can contract them fully after activating exercises.

Without activating exercises usually i have lots of trouble voluntarily contracting them, it usually depends on what i did the day(s) before. But sometimes id say i can contract them only about 20%.[/quote]

Ok. Then I doubt you should have problems with squatting. You can dedicate 1 day to the squat and another day to glute isolation exercises. [/quote]

Can you give (an) example(s) of glute isolation exercises?


#8

[quote]Respeezy wrote:

[quote]dt79 wrote:

[quote]Respeezy wrote:

[quote]dt79 wrote:
Are you capable of fully activating your glutes in a squat? Can you voluntarily contract them with light weights even without activation drills? [/quote]

I think i can contract them fully after activating exercises.

Without activating exercises usually i have lots of trouble voluntarily contracting them, it usually depends on what i did the day(s) before. But sometimes id say i can contract them only about 20%.[/quote]

Ok. Then I doubt you should have problems with squatting. You can dedicate 1 day to the squat and another day to glute isolation exercises. [/quote]

Can you give (an) example(s) of glute isolation exercises?[/quote]

Romanian Deadlifts. 4x10.

Don’t chase numbers. Focus on glute contraction. Let the weight go up naturally.

Edit.

USE STRAPS.


#9

Adding volume to activation exercises is pointless. If you do them correctly, one or two sets should be all it takes. They are not the workout, they prepare you for the workout. Try holding the contraction for five seconds on each rep.


#10

[quote]

Romanian Deadlifts. 4x10.

Don’t chase numbers. Focus on glute contraction. Let the weight go up naturally.

Edit.

USE STRAPS.[/quote]

Ok, tx


#11

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
Adding volume to activation exercises is pointless. If you do them correctly, one or two sets should be all it takes. There are not the work out, they prepare you for the workout. Try hold the contraction for five seconds on each rep.[/quote]

Ok, clear tx.


#12

I’ll admit first up I’m really pretty hazy on the whole ‘activation’ thing - for myself I’ve usually found I can either move the bar or I can’t. I don’t tend to feel a particular muscle doing much.

HOWEVER - when I started pulling sumo I did have problems breaking off the floor using my hips, so I guess that would be a matter of non-activated glutes/hips. Anyway, I started doing heavy high box squats (80% of my max DL) set so the height was the same as my sumo starting position. It took one session of this for me to start being able to break the bar off the floor using my glutes. I don’t know if that counts as activating them, but its six weeks since I’ve been pulling sumo and doing the high box squats and I’ve noticed a distinct difference in my sumo pulls and squats - I actually feel my glutes (and hams too) working to move the bar.

So, if that does count as activation I’d suggest pulling sumo and doing high box squats. Hope that helps.


#13

activation work is a very important part of a warm up, but should only be a standalone workout in itself for rehab purposes. Nighthawkz is right on the money with his post.

Don’t overlook activating the core before your squats/deads, too. Nothing that’ll fatigue you, but something along the lines of a few sets of bird dogs will make a big difference to your mobility and help protect your back.


#14

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
So, if that does count as activation I’d suggest pulling sumo and doing high box squats. Hope that helps. [/quote]

this is totally wrong. You would do the activation work before these exercises.


#15

[quote]Yogi wrote:

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
So, if that does count as activation I’d suggest pulling sumo and doing high box squats. Hope that helps. [/quote]

this is totally wrong. You would do the activation work before these exercises.[/quote]

Gotcha. Like I said, haven’t a clue really about activation. I tend to just start with mobility work, then ramp up to my work sets.


#16

[quote]MarkKO wrote:

[quote]Yogi wrote:

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
So, if that does count as activation I’d suggest pulling sumo and doing high box squats. Hope that helps. [/quote]

this is totally wrong. You would do the activation work before these exercises.[/quote]

Gotcha. Like I said, haven’t a clue really about activation. I tend to just start with mobility work, then ramp up to my work sets. [/quote]

It’s a hugely underrated part of a warm up, in my opinion. I would recommend some glute/core activation on lower body days and RC work on your upper days


#17

[quote]Yogi wrote:

[quote]MarkKO wrote:

[quote]Yogi wrote:

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
So, if that does count as activation I’d suggest pulling sumo and doing high box squats. Hope that helps. [/quote]

this is totally wrong. You would do the activation work before these exercises.[/quote]

Gotcha. Like I said, haven’t a clue really about activation. I tend to just start with mobility work, then ramp up to my work sets. [/quote]

It’s a hugely underrated part of a warm up, in my opinion. I would recommend some glute/core activation on lower body days and RC work on your upper days[/quote]

I might indeed start doing some, especially RC stuff.


#18

The best activation exercise for my rotator cuffs is crawling. I’m not joking.


#19

[quote]MarkKO wrote:

[quote]Yogi wrote:

[quote]MarkKO wrote:

[quote]Yogi wrote:

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
So, if that does count as activation I’d suggest pulling sumo and doing high box squats. Hope that helps. [/quote]

this is totally wrong. You would do the activation work before these exercises.[/quote]

Gotcha. Like I said, haven’t a clue really about activation. I tend to just start with mobility work, then ramp up to my work sets. [/quote]

It’s a hugely underrated part of a warm up, in my opinion. I would recommend some glute/core activation on lower body days and RC work on your upper days[/quote]

I might indeed start doing some, especially RC stuff. [/quote]

do it, mate. For me it’s the choice between having sore shoulders when working out or not sore shoulders when working out. No brainer, really


#20

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
The best activation exercise for my rotator cuffs is crawling. I’m not joking.

https://youtu.be/CfEtYKENxtw[/quote]

cool, I’ll check that out