How To: Do A Proper Squat-Squeeze the Glutes, Drive the Hips
Whether we are lifting in the gym or in our everyday routines, glute and hip engagement is very crucial. Most of our body movements require glute engagement, whether it is an actual movement with the hip (walking, stairs, bending over to pick up something you dropped) or just for stability (standing). These movements come to us naturally; we often forget about the joints and muscles required to make this action possible. While it may seem difficult at first to focus on activating the glute and hips while participating in daily movement, implementing it into your everyday life will benefit you greatly in the long run.
One way to execute this engagement is when standing and/or walking, activate your glutes (squeeze your glutes as if you are trying to hold a penny between your butt cheeks) and abdominals, you will take away any tension in your lower back. This will also work if you feel any discomfort or pain in your lower back. Another way is to make sure you activate your glutes and hips while getting out of a chair or off the couch; it will be much easier to get up and will also take away any tension/pain in your lower back.
In our most recent youtube video “How To: Do a Proper Squat” (linked at the bottom), we started the video with a seated dynamic that emphasizes activating our hip and glute muscles to prepare them for squatting heavy weight. While it may seem to be a tedious warm-up, it is essential to have your hips and glutes equivalently ready for bracing the weight you plan to lift. And having open hips can provide greater depth in your squat and offer more support in your lift, that is also why it is important to drive your hips to the top of your squat to maintain the integrity of the squat, so we don’t get stuck at the bottom.
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Check out our next video, “How To: Do a Proper Deadlift” to learn more about glute and hip activation during your lift to maximize your weight and improve your form.