Learn how to make your exercises more glute dominant instead of quad dominant!
Do you feel like your quads are working more than your glutes when working out your lower body? In this post you’ll learn some simple tips on how to work your glutes more than your quads.
The reason for becoming more glute dominant is not just so you can have a nice booty, the glutes are an important muscle when it comes to hip stability. The hip is a ball and socket joint; to keep this joint stable and sitting in a good position, you need to have adequate glute strength. People with glute weakness are more prone to developing issues with the lower back and the hips, so that’s why we’re talking about this today.
The glute muscles are a relatively common area of weakness and when they are weak, the quads tend to become more dominant. Don’t get me wrong, the quads are still an important muscle and we want them to be strong, but we want both the glutes and the quads sharing the work when doing exercises that work both muscles.
To learn more about why glute strength is important, check out this post: “Why Strong Glutes Are Important”
There are 3 different parts of the glute muscle and today we’re talking about the gluteus maximus as this is the muscle that will be working along with your quads in many exercises. Also, we are talking about exercises that work on multiple muscle groups. Some exercises like the leg extension machine, are only going to work the quads. Examples of exercises that work both the quads and the glutes are squats, lunges, deadlifts, and bridges. Also know that even though we’re looking at how to make the glutes more dominant, the quads are also going to be working in these types of exercises and that’s a good thing! It would be impossible to do these exercises without working the quads as well; we’re just looking at how to make the glutes work a little bit more than the quads are working.
6 Tips to work your glutes more than your quads
1. Make sure your squat form is correct!
When you squat, you want to make sure you’re sitting back into your hips (like you are sitting in a chair). If you bend only through the knees, this is going to make the quads do most of the work and this is also going to put unwanted strain on your knee joints, so make sure you really bend from the hips. As you squat down, you should be able to see your toes if you look down at your feet; this will help you to prevent the knees from coming too far forward.
Remember to keep your knees slightly bent when you come back up to standing after your squat.
Video instructions will be listed below so you can see this visually if needed.
If this is difficult for you, check out tip #2.
2. Work on a sit to stand motion to teach the glutes how to activate properly with squats.
This is great to do if you are having difficulty getting your squat form right or just to re-educate the glute max. Sometimes I even do this as an exercise by putting a bench behind me and using the bar for added weight. This exercise is great to work on glute activation.
When you do this sit to stand motion, make sure you sit back into the hips (so stick your butt out back). Do this motion in a slow and controlled manner to work on glute muscle activation.
Again, remember to keep your knees slightly bent when you come back up to standing.
(Video instructions on this are also below.)
3. Keep your weight more in your heels with squats, conventional deadlifts, lunges, and bridges.
With these exercises, if your weight is too far forward through your feet, the glutes won’t work as much.
With these exercises, your entire foot will be in contact with the ground but what you want to think about is shifting the weight to be more in your heels. With squats, you’ll especially want to do this as you lift back up to a standing position.
With lunges, I’m talking about the front foot because obviously the back foot will be up on the toes.
4. Lower the weight you're using.
If you feel like you’re having difficulty keeping good form or isolating the glutes, you may need to lower the weight.
If your quads are naturally more dominant, they’ll start to take over if you go too heavy on the weight. So drop down the weight until the glutes are able to stay working throughout the exercise.
5. Focus on the glutes working through the exercise.
When you’re doing your squats, deadlifts, lunges, or bridges, really focus on the glutes working throughout the exercise. Keep your focus on the glutes through both the concentric and eccentric parts of the exercise. For example, with your squats, focus on the glutes slowly lowering you down into your squat and then focus on the glutes lifting you back up to standing.
Your brain is what moves your body and what activates your muscles in the first place, so putting your mind to the muscle that you’re wanting to activate can be really helpful in improving activation of a specific muscle.
6. Work on glute activation exercises
You may just need to take a step away from the squats and deadlifts and work on some glute activation exercises.
These types of exercises are designed to help you to isolate the glute muscles so that this can carry over to your more compound exercises. These types of exercises are also great to use as a warm-up prior to doing lower body weight training to make sure that the glutes are activating well before lifting.
So those are your 6 tips to help you to become more glute dominant and to work your glutes more than your quads.
For visual instructions on the tips in this post, check out the video below! There’s also one bonus tip in there on improving your glute activation 🙂
I hope you guys found these tips helpful, keep learning about your body!
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Exercise and physical activities: Before beginning any of these exercises, you should consult with your physician, assess your fitness level, and follow all safety instructions. Any/all information provided by Dr. Tara Salay is of general nature and should not be taken as medical and/or other health advice pertaining to any individual specific health and/or medical condition. You should be in good physical condition and able to participate in these exercises and you should understand that when participating in same, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in these exercises, you agree that your participation is voluntary and that you are participating at your own risk. By engaging in these exercises you agree to assume any/all risk(s) of injury. Should your participation in these exercises result in injury, you agree to release, discharge, and hold Dr. Tara Salay as harmless from any/all losses, liabilities, injuries, and/or damages resulting from any/all known or unknown claims and/or causes of action.