“Wow you have such a nice ass… you must squat everyday!”
People tend to associate big glutes with heavy squats.
However, the truth is that while the squat does work out the glutes, it actually is more of a quad-dominant movement.
So for a lot of people, they don’t feel their glutes activating as much as they would like during the squat.
I had that problem too.
When I first started squatting, my body was incredibly imbalanced. I would feel my quads, hips, and back working all the time. Never my glutes.
This glute inactivity caused a great deal of frustration for me, but it also motivated me to learn more about my own body mechanics.
After working with my chiropractor to target my problems, I began squatting again and eventually found a process that allowed me to maximize glute activation during the lift.
1. Imagine you are sitting back on a chair or toilet.
Rather than squatting straight down, push your ass back as you are descending. This will help your knees stay overtop of your toes so that you aren’t leaning forward. As a result, you will be able to put more pressure on your heels, which in turn, will facilitate glute activation.
2. Descend until you feel your glutes starting to take over (stop before your back rounds).
Some people are more flexible… or umm… should I say… less flexible, than others. This is important because your flexibility affects how deep you can squat without sacrificing form.
For example, if you are very tight, then you probably shouldn’t be squatting ass-to-grass. In fact, you might not even be able to hit parallel, the reason being that the more you exceed your body’s ROM, the more your body will be forced into unnatural positions. This usually leads to back rounding, lumbar spine flexion, or butt-wink, all of which are bad.
You should just descend until you feel your glutes starting to activate. At this point, pause, and feel the tension. Prepare to load the weight onto your heels.
3. Visualize pushing from your heels.
Ok, so now that you have all the tension loaded up in your glutes and heels, use this tension to spring up, while pushing from your heels. Imagine there is a circle forming on both of your heels as you’re going down, and as you’re pushing up, visualize these circles exploding. This is the most important cue.
4. Squeeze dat ass
…Or try to, at least.
This is especially important when you’re ascending: if you drive through your heels while trying to squeeze your ass at the same time, this will maximize activation.
The key is to try. Your glutes won’t necessarily be flexing on the way up, but they should feel more awakened.
Putting it all together
Tie all these steps together, and you should be achieving maximum glute activation with every squat. It’s important to remember that no matter how hard you try, if your lower body is tight, your glutes will never activate.
If that is the case, then take a look at some of my recommended stretches at http://flawlessactivation.com/stretches/