Glutes won't fire

I have trouble isolating my glutes. I notice my body tends to use other muscles instead of firing up my glutes. Example being bridges, they are totally hamstring for me. Also if I just try to tighten a glute I end up having to tighten my quads and hamstrings to do so........and this sucks. I want to know my squat work is working my butt, I would like to build more muscle in this area. I do have scoliosis and a pelvic obliquity which I think could be contributing to my other muscles compensating for glutes. Any ideas how to isolate my glutes to get them fired up?
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Replies

  • Rick_1953
    Rick_1953 Posts: 596 Member
    Use a band around the knees doing bridges and squats. It will activate them
  • Grimmerick
    Grimmerick Posts: 3,344 Member
    well I am off to a good start, I love clams and I do use a band for bridges, I'll start doing them for squats too!
  • sardelsa
    sardelsa Posts: 9,812 Member
    You can do hip abductions, feet-elevated glute bridges, side-lying clamshell, fire hydrants etc.. all you can do bodyweight or with a band. Do them daily especially before a lower body session.
  • Cherimoose
    Cherimoose Posts: 5,210 Member
    I want to know my squat work is working my butt,

    If your squat form is correct, your glutes are working properly on them, whether you feel them or not. :+1:

  • Grimmerick
    Grimmerick Posts: 3,344 Member
    Ok so I guess my glutes are working I just don't feel them right away, I have to have a mind connection and be several exercises into glute work before I can feel my glute muscles. Am I supposed to be able to just tighten one glute at a time and isolate them or are other muscles like quads and hamstrings always going to come into play when I try?
  • sardelsa
    sardelsa Posts: 9,812 Member
    You should be able to tighten them and feel them when standing or walking. If you can't that is OK it can take time and practice, keep activating. There is another one I like to do when I'm standing, in the kitchen etc. It is a posterior pelvic tilt thrust.
  • Grimmerick
    Grimmerick Posts: 3,344 Member
    edited September 2017
    sardelsa wrote: »
    You should be able to tighten them and feel them when standing or walking. If you can't that is OK it can take time and practice, keep activating. There is another one I like to do when I'm standing, in the kitchen etc. It is a posterior pelvic tilt thrust.

    Thanks I am going to start doing this, ugh it sucks having to think so hard to get my butt muscles to react ;)
  • kzooyogi
    kzooyogi Posts: 121 Member
    I see this as a problem a lot in my yoga classes. To retrain the glutes to fire properly:

    Lay on your belly, arms extended overhead, forehead down, feet pointed so tops of feet rest on the floor. Keeping your forehead connected to the mat/ground, inhale and lift the left arm and right leg, exhale and lower, inhale and lift the right arm and left leg, exhale and lower. Repeat that about 10x on each side and you should notice after a while that your glutes will start to activate more.
  • ptcampgymokc
    ptcampgymokc Posts: 318 Member
    I would first ask if you have currently any lifting restrictions. If the answer is not I would definitely start incorporating sumo squats knlebr8gfhby.jpg
    You can incorporate a step to increase the difficulty.
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    That with plyojumps in a superset will probably do the trick.

  • julie_broadhead
    julie_broadhead Posts: 347 Member
    I'm currrently working on regaining my glute strength here are something's that helped me:
    - Try changing some of the exercises you have been doing. If your glutes aren't firing during bridges, it is possible that you have been doing them wrong for so long that it would be really hard to retrain yourself to do them right. Personally, with clams I noticed that the main source of power I was using for that movement was my hip flexor. Doing clams lying on my back with a light band around my legs allowed me to get most of the movement to come from my glutes.
    - When I am doing glute centered exercises, I will place a hand either on my glute to make sure it is firing or on my hip flexor to make sure it is not.
    Are you seeing a physical therapist for your pelvis and spine? They can address your weaknesses and make sure you are doing exercises properly.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,473 Member
    Curtsy squats Emmy. Try 'em.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

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  • VintageFeline
    VintageFeline Posts: 6,771 Member
    Reading this I have sat here clenching one buttock then the other.

    I like a good curtsy.
  • Niki_Fitz
    Niki_Fitz Posts: 945 Member
    edited September 2017
    Overactive and tight hip flexors can contribute to inhibited glute firing. Releasing the psoas, TFL, and quads with stretching or bodywork can help.

    http://www.balancemotion.com/activate-your-glutes/ this article has some more insights into shutting off dominant hamstrings and also explains the hip flexor connection better than I can.
  • cerise_noir
    cerise_noir Posts: 5,468 Member
    Bret Contreras' Strong Curves program taught me to fully activate my glutes. A total game-changer. He's known as The Glute Guy, for good reason. He knows his stuff!

    Agreed!
    Bret also posts mini glute circuit videos on his FB page and has a bunch of articles on firing glutes.
  • canadianlbs
    canadianlbs Posts: 5,199 Member
    Overactive and tight hip flexors can contribute to inhibited glute firing. Releasing the psoas, TFL, and quads with stretching or bodywork can help.

    this all the way. i'm not sure if anybody who hasn't had serious compensation patterns burned in really realises how much of a fight it can be to get past all the accessory muscles and into the glute.

    i recently rewound all the way back to lying on my back with a fairly large squishy ball under the glute that got injured and isn't working. this way i know it's firing instead of my hamstrings or quads or anything else, because i can feel it pushing back on the ball.

    i've also found clamshells have been almost useless for me. i've already got really strong glute min and medius, and they tend to do it instead. i was given a 'lateral rotation' drill that also seems like it's helping to sort out the mess my own glutes are in.
  • BinaryPulsar
    BinaryPulsar Posts: 8,927 Member
    edited September 2017
    Bret Contreras' Strong Curves program taught me to fully activate my glutes. A total game-changer. He's known as The Glute Guy, for good reason. He knows his stuff!

    I also find this very helpful. I do hip thrusts. And also as simple as being aware of engaging the glutes in all activities such as walking (and dancing). The one thing I wonder is... Do you think there is significant benefit in adding the quadruped hip extension machine (often called something like the butt blaster)? Or is hip thrusts enough. I often wonder if it helps to add some extra accessory work for glutes. I have issues in my upper body with nerve pain and costochondritis in my ribs (knee problems also), so I do like to be able to target my strong glutes (I'm a dancer) without other issues holding me back. I still do upper body work as well.
  • Niki_Fitz
    Niki_Fitz Posts: 945 Member
    edited September 2017
    Overactive and tight hip flexors can contribute to inhibited glute firing. Releasing the psoas, TFL, and quads with stretching or bodywork can help.

    i recently rewound all the way back to lying on my back with a fairly large squishy ball under the glute that got injured and isn't working. this way i know it's firing instead of my hamstrings or quads or anything else, because i can feel it pushing back on the ball.
    .

    Great technique, using balls like this for feedback and dialing the exercise back to basics. Glutes are just so commonly disinhibited. I'm hearing the term "glute amnesia" more and more these days. Strong curves is helping me along nicely now, along with these types of basic muscle firing exercises.
  • canadianlbs
    canadianlbs Posts: 5,199 Member
    edited September 2017
    Great technique, using balls like this for feedback and dialing the exercise back to basics.

    i'll also admit i've just resorted to ordering a little personal tens/ems unit. waiting on an mri too, but for now i still haven't found a way of activating it that reliably skirts whatever that damn sore spot is. i'm slightly afraid that i'll just be microwaving my own innards or something, but it's been a long time since i bought a lift-related toy.