It’s time for a frank discussion about your butt.
It’s lovely – really it is! But it’s been slacking on the job lately, and that’s not doing you any favours for your game. Today I’m going to show you how to first awaken and recruit, then strengthen your glutes. I’m going to show you how to build a derby booty.
You see, most humans lack the necessary “Brain-to-Booty” connection required to adequately recruit their gluteus muscles to do their job.
For a variety of reasons, our neuro-motor pathways fail to signal all our big strong booty muscles when the time is right, and we instead fall back on inefficient biomechanics, using neighbouring muscles instead to pick up the slack.
These other muscles, like hip flexors, hamstrings, and low back muscles, are asked to work overtime, doing a job they weren’t really trained to do.
As a result, when we ask these related muscles to work beyond their pay grade over and over, they eventually succumb to burnout, and we wind up with chronic pain.
You might be lucky enough to have avoided the long list of potential chronic pain issues that can result from lack of glute strength. But what you’ve likely still got is some very weak glute muscles (since they’ve been on coffee break since forever), which are impeding your ultimate success on skates.
If all we wanted to do was to walk around and up and down the stairs now and again, the glute strength we’ve got would be more than enough.
However, we roller derby players instead ask our bodies to support us on wheels, bent over in an athletic stance, and constantly turning left. Furthermore, we need our powerhouse core strength (of course this includes your glutes) to drive into blocks, hold back a jammer with a rock-solid plough stop, or counter-block a skater delivering an offensive hit.
We need REALLY strong glute muscles.
In this Pre-Hab video, I will show you five exercises that will help “awaken” your dormant booty muscles, and hardwire the correct Brain-To-Booty connection so that they can be called in to service without thinking about it – every day, and every stride on skates. We’re going to build a derby booty.
Plus, we’ll finish with one example of a booty-strengthening move. Pro tip: this move will make a huge difference if you’re struggling with one knee taps!
How to Recruit and Strengthen Your Glutes and Build A Derby Booty:
I recommend trying out each of the “Activator” exercises to see which one(s) are the most challenging for you.
All-Star Members: Your full length video with extended instruction and a handout is here!
Here’s a sample Day One plan:
- Basic Bridge: 2 sets of 10
- Marching Bridge: 2 sets of 20 steps
- One-leg Bridge: 2 sets each side of 5 to 10
- Clamshells: 2 sets of 15 to 20 each side
- Kick Poop off Your Shoe: 2 sets of 10 to 15 each side
The great thing about these activating moves is that they also build strength! But they are also very isolating, forcing your glute muscles to do exactly the job that they, and only they, were designed to do.
Remember, during the bridge series, if you ever feel the burn moving into your hamstrings (backs of your thighs), stop and rest. If you can’t do one of the bridge progressions without feeling your hamstrings working, just drop back to the previous exercise and keep working on that one for a few days or more, until you build up the necessary strength to progress.
Once you have gotten the hang of these exercises and are starting to feel stronger, you can increase the number of sets and reps on subsequent days.
Now that your booty is doing the job you’re paying it to do, you can back off the full series, and simply add in a few reps of each (or the ones that challenge you the most) as part of your warm-up before skating or cross-training. A minute or so total should do the trick – you’ll ping that brain-to-booty connection pathway and remind your body how to send the right signals for action to the right muscles.
As for the Bulgarian Squats (aka raised rear leg squats, aka raised leg split squat, aka a hundred other names)…
You can drop those into your off-skates training any time (after you’ve done your activating exercises in warm-up, of course!). Without weight, two to four sets of ten to twenty per side would be a great start! Adding in dumbbells (or a barbell across your shoulders, as in a back squat), lower the number of reps accordingly to ensure that the last rep of each set is challenging, but still achievable with good form.
For All-Star Members, and folks currently registered for a training program here, you can see a full instructional video on Bulgarian Squats here in our extensive How-To Videos catalogue.
Of course, don’t forget to stretch out your hips and glute muscles after working them out! Thread the needle — aka the figure-four stretch — and pigeon stretch are two great ones. We’ll have another pre-hab video on that coming out soon.
Don’t miss the next pre-hab video!
Now: I want to hear from you! Did any of these glute activation exercises help you find a new muscle you didn’t even know you had? Was one more challenging than the others? Let me know in the comments!
xo Booty Quake