As the official UK distributor for Booty Builder – the world’s leading hip thrust machine – you could say we’re a little bit fond of glute training and believe that every fitness centre should have equipment capable of delivering a killer butt workout. But rather than just taking our word for it, we wanted you to hear from some of the industry’s leading experts on this exploding fitness phenomenon. Joining us for this quick-fire Q&A are Alexander Hallafors, Founder and Director of Scandinavian Top Team, an elite personal trainer who has coached world-class athletes across multiple sports, and Hasit Jethwa, Health and Fitness Tutor for The Training Room. So, let’s begin…
Q: There’s no denying that glute workouts are taking off, but why do you think this is?
Hasit: I think the biggest reason for this is the fact that, along with females, men are starting to realise the importance of glute workouts. Traditionally, glute workouts were something females tended to focus on from an aesthetics and physique standpoint. However, as time has gone on, people of all ages, genders and abilities have started to incorporate glute exercises into their routines. If you want to be able to squat heavy, lift some serious weight on a deadlift, or smash a PB, then there’s one set of muscles you’ll need to show some love to… the glutes!
The glutes act as a huge stabiliser and initiate many of these big movements. For example, I am sure you can relate to that feeling when you are at the bottom of a heavy squat and hanging on for dear life? You are essentially waiting for your glutes to kick in and begin driving you back up, so your quads can take over and ease the pressure.
Alexander: Glute training has started to be seen as one of the fundamental pillars for all over sports performance and injury prevention, and the Booty Builder machine is starting to become a standard piece of equipment in all the big performance centres and in the training programmes of elite-level athletes around the world. More studies and a better understanding of human biomechanics have shed light on the many benefits of glute workouts, which is partly why they have gained so much traction over the past few years and have started to be incorporated more and more into elite sports.
But even though we have come a long way in terms of understanding the importance of glute workouts, many trainers and athletes are stuck in an older, more “traditional” way of thinking regarding physical training to better athletic performance and injury prevention. Through better education and awareness, I hope this will change, so that exercisers across the globe can start to realise the many benefits of glute workouts.
Q: That leads us nicely onto our next question… We know that the benefits of glute workouts stretch far behind aesthetics, so can you tell us what they are?
Hasit: The glutes play a vital biomechanical role in the body and, similar to the core, are heavily involved in many of the movements that take place. Think about your pelvis when it’s fixed or moving, and the chances are the glutes are doing much of the stabilising.
Most typical movements are anterior chain dominated (front of body), so it’s massively important to work the posterior chain to balance it out. Much of the population suffers from hip flexor tightness, lower back pain, and IT band tightness so having workouts that enable correct glute activation scheduled into your programme is going to ease all of those issues as you get older.
Because the glutes are key to stabilising the trunk, reducing pressure on the lower back including the vertebrae, implementing some butt exercises into your routine can help you avoid potential issues such as disc hernias. Having strong, stable, and mobile hips can also help to prevent falls amongst older adults. So, when performed consistently, glute workouts can support people at every stage of life.
Q: That’s great! Sounds like there are a TONNE of benefits for people of all ages. So, how do we break down another barrier – that glute workouts are just for women?
Hasit: If you think that glute workouts are purely for females, you have already lost a lot of valuable time in the gym along with assisting your lifts! All muscles situated near the pelvic region play an integral role in stabilising and fixating through different ranges of motions. Whether you’re doing a squat, deadlift or bent-over row, glute workouts are incredibly beneficial for everybody. Because these big movements require correct glute activation, if you don’t work or isolate them, you’ll never have the mind-muscle connection or the strength required to reach your potential in movements like squats or deadlifts. Glute workouts are for all genders – not just for women!
Q: From working with Booty Builder, we know that some of the world’s most high-profile sports teams, including the likes of the LA Lakers and Tampa Bay Rays, are big fans of glute workouts. Please can you explain the benefits for elite athletes?
Alexander: All sports are about the glutes, focused around having powerful hips. Glute training is crucial to increase athletic performance. It doesn’t really matter which sport you are performing in. The glute is the biggest controller over hip function and performance. If you are a football player, you need to be able to sprint at top speed, jump high and kick with full power; all of which is determined by how strong and well-functioning your glutes are. In boxing, you always hear “punch with the hip” and that refers to being able to torque the hip to let the whole body get behind the punch (so the punch gets more powerful). The torque of the hip is controlled by the glutes. In sports like ice hockey, having strong glutes means you can go faster on the skates and also shoot harder with the stick by involving the glutes and hips in your shots.
Besides the advantages in athletic performance, the glutes also play a major role in injury prevention. A strong and functional glute muscle helps control the knee and also has a big impact on lower back health. When it comes to sport, we know that the athlete or team that remains the healthiest, and free from injuries, will ultimately succeed the most.
Hasit: Couldn’t agree more! As Alexander said, athletic performance relies heavily on glute activation. Power movements, such as sprinting, involve mechanics where you are taking your leg through hip extension and driving your foot through the ground. The muscle responsible for hip extension is the glutes. Think about any sports where jumping or bounding is involved; these mechanics also heavily rely on the glutes to activate at the correct time to drive you off the ground.
The glutes have a huge impact, both directly and indirectly, in most of your compound lifts, too. They mainly act as a stabiliser of the pelvic region, so any movement whereby you hinge from the hips will involve the glutes in a major way. Training your glutes can also help you to overcome potential plateaus with strength on major lifts, as you’ll have a more stable base to work and drive from.
Q: Alex, you’ve worked with some of the biggest names in international sport, so tell us… how can glute workouts be implemented into the programmes of elite athletes?
Alexander: I mostly work with athletes that need to be powerful horizontally, which means sprinting, jumping forward, punching, kicking, and wrestling. Studies show that exercises like the hip thrust are better for horizontal power output than for example traditional squats. That has led glute training to be the most prioritized part of their programmes. Max strength hip thrusts are also a big part of athletic strength tests to determine physical performance and injury risk.
In athlete programmes, we usually start with some glute activation exercises as a warm-up. After that, we go through the explosive part of the training which incorporates a lot of rubber bands etc as the load for different kinds of jumps. Jumping is all glutes! The next step is working on max strength. We usually get athletes to perform heavy hip thrusts which the Booty Builder is perfect for due to the low risk of injury.
Q: Alexander, we know that the Booty Builder has been a staple part of your clients’ programmes for the last 2-3 years. What do you think makes it so great?
Alexander: Where do I start?! The Booty Builder machine allows you to go really hard in training and, at the same time, feel secure due to the low injury risk. It’s a really practical tool to have in the gym and really easy to use, which means less time training technique and more time training to get strong! Also, the Booty Builder machines don’t take up as much space as a barbell and weights would, which makes it easy to place in a small gym and also at home. In a nutshell, the Booty Builder is a really practical and safe way to maximise glute training for your clients.
Q: Thanks chaps! That was a great rundown of why glute workouts are one of the hottest trends in the industry and why exercisers, fitness operators and trainers should get in on the act. Before we wrap up, have you got any more words of wisdom about glute workouts?
Hasit: If you are not already focusing and scheduling direct glute work into your programmes, you are massively missing out on increasing your performance whether it’s in a gym environment or a sports performance setting. Not to mention the fact that you are increasing your chances of injuries and postural issues further down the line by neglecting them. Sounds like a no brainer to me; it’s a must for everyone!
Alexander: What Hasit said!
Want to provide your members with the ultimate glute workout? We have you covered! Call or email Tracy today to discuss the best Booty Builder option for your facility.
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