The Gluteal muscles are the biggest and most powerful muscles in our bodies, but most of us do not use them in our every day life activities due to prolonged sitting/driving and therefore they become weak and deconditioned. If our glutes are not working hard enough then injuries can occur as our trunk/pelvis are not supported as well and forces are sent down to the lower limbs loading the musculature into our legs and changing our lower limb alignment.
a) Double leg resisted. Apply a resistance band around your thighs just above your knees. Lying on your back with your knees bent. Lengthen your spine by tilting your pelvis back and then squeeze your glutes (bottom muscles) and raise your hips so that your body is in a nice straight line. Then slowly lower back down to starting position and repeat. Continue to repeat until fatigue. Repeat 2 sets with 2 minutes recovery.
b) Single leg bridge- this is a progression. If the above is too easy then try the bridge on one leg. Raise one leg slightly off the ground but still keep the thighs parallel and the knees apart with the resistance band around your knees. Lengthen your spine and then drive up through the glutes so that your body is straight. Then slowly lower back to the starting position and continue again up and down until fatigue. Repeat 2 sets with 2 minutes recovery.
The bridge works both the Gluteus Maximus and Gluteus Medius
2. Lateral wall press
standing sideways to a wall with the leg closest to the wall resting as shown in the picture. Lengthen your spine again and keep trunk straight. Then push your ankle/knee/thigh into the wall as hard as you can for 20 seconds. Relax and then repeat again. Continue again until fatigue.
This works the Gluteus Medius mostly but will also work the Gluteus Maximus
3. Sideways walking resisted
Standing with a resistance band around your knees ankles. Lengthen your spine by tilting back your pelvis. Keep the trunk straight and then abduct the hip out to the side against the resistance and then bring the other leg towards it but keeping tension on with the resistance band at all times. Swap sides. Continue until fatigue.
This works the Gluteus Medius
Note- With all the above exercises the secret is ensuring you feel the burn/ache in the gluteal musculature (ie in the back and back/side of your bottom). The body is very clever at using another area if the glutes are weak. If you feel that you are working somewhere else like the hip flexors/ITB/TFL then try and correct your posture by lengthening out your spine/tilting back your pelvis and be conscious of driving through your glutes. If you still do not feel the glutes working and another area is taking over instead then discontinue that particular exercise. You may then need a one to one session to go through a more thorough exercise rehabilitation programme and particularly if you have an injury.