Free trial » Day 1 » Getting started
Unlike mechanical systems which wear out with use, the bio-mechanical body wears out through lack of use. Muscle tissue quickly wastes away when we stay still as anyone who has been forced into sustained bed rest will tell you.
When you consider that most of us sit down for most of the day, every day, then come home and couch out, it is really no surprise that we become weak and injury prone.
On top of this we actually sit onto our bum muscles, flattening and softening them, almost using them as a cushion and nothing else.
After we have been sitting for a certain time, tension builds in the front of the hip from being unnaturally flexed for so long. Following this, the brain stops 'talking' to the bum muscles and they go to sleep. Until they are re-connected they may as well not be there at all. This is where the special 'activation' techniques come in.
Before trying this exercise lets find out whether your bum is working or not.
Lie down flat onto your front and lift one leg a few inches off the floor. With one of your hands feel the tone that has developed in the back of your thigh (hamstrings). Feel the tone that has developed in your bum and finally the tone in your lower back muscles.
If the tone in your bottom is the same as your back and thigh then your gluteus maximus muscles are already connected so try the second trial exercise instead. If not, follow the instructions for glute max activation in front lying.
Glute Max Activation Technique 2 - Front Lying
Remember: To really tone these muscles you have to be able to activate them first
Donít rush this section as it is by far the most important.
Lie flat onto your front with your forehead in your hands
Slowly raise one leg toward the ceiling by a couple of inches keeping the knee straight. Reach around with one hand and feel your bum muscles. Compare the tone in your bum to the back of the thigh (hamstrings) And to your lower back muscles
Often the bum muscles are not contributing much and if this is the case:
Just before you raise the leg, press your bum muscle with your fingers This will send a message from your bum to your brain Now try to engage the bum muscle consciously until they gather tone under your fingers. Now do the leg raise and it will feel quite different.
The emphasis here is on engaging the bum to make the leg move
Once you feel that you can activate the muscle properly try and do about thirty on each leg. Donít hold them for long, just engage, feel it, pause and slowly down.
Once you notice that the bum muscle turns itself on automatically the activation stage is complete.
Use your tummy muscles to stop your back arching as you raise the leg This will protect your spine and allow the bum to work properly If you find the spine moves immediately, or that there is pain, it means that you require more flexibility in the front of the thighs and in the hip flexor muscles.
See flexibility section on Quads and Hip flexors
For most people stretching for a couple of minutes before doing this exercise makes it work much better. If you are very stiff in these muscles, make your flexibility work the priority for a week and then try again