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If you hit up google or pinterest for a quick workout routine to follow, you’ll likely miss out on a few key exercises needed to elicit functional strength and an injury free body. Sure, you’ll find squats, lunges, push-ups, planks and crunches that heavily target our anterior chain. But what you’re less likely to find are exercises that help to strengthen our lateral hips, glutes, and hamstrings.
Why are exercises for the glutes and hamstrings important?
Because they target the muscles of the posterior and lateral chain, including glute and hamstring strengthening exercises is the antidote to the over-prescribed anterior chain exercises. Strong glutes and hamstrings are key in maintaining the health of our low back, the functionality of our core and in preventing a variety of common injuries.
Here are three must do exercises to focus on strengthening the important (but often forgotten in the internet-fitness-world) muscles of the glutes and hamstrings.
Strengthens glute maximus, hamstrings.
Equipment: Bench, coffee table or edge of a couch
Cues: Dig heels into bench, engage glutes, press up through pelvis vs. belly button, maintain neutral spinal alignment vs. popping ribcage or arching low back, bend/hinge at hip joint.
Strengthens lateral hips including glute medius.
Equipment: Perform better mini band, or theraband tied into a loop
Cues: Keep knees bent, slowly resist as legs come together, move leg, hip and torso as a unit to the side rather than going foot first.
Strengthens hamstrings, glute maximus
Equipment: Gliding discs, valslides, dishtowels or paper plates.
Cues: Keep hips elevated as much as possible without arching into the low back, drag heels to butt while keeping hips elevated, relax feet and upper body.
Add the exercises above into your workouts by starting with 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions. When paired with mobility work, consistent strength training that targets the anterior, lateral and posterior chain is great for increasing muscle definition, reducing injury and improving quality of life.