Admit it, who doesn’t love a nice butt. However there is so much more to the glutes than a hot booty. Throughout history humans have admired and adored the buttocks, even as far back and ancient Greece. The glutes are a collection of muscles that combine to extend, abduct and rotate the leg. In addition they stabilize the trunk as a connection between the upper and lower torsos, and assist in maintaining an erect posture. They are composed of the Gluteus Maximus (GM), Gluteus Medius (Gmed), and Gluteus Minimus (Gmin). It is hypothesized that during the evolution from apes to humans, the gluteal muscles were an integral part of this, by allowing a transition to an upright posture and facilitating the ability to run long distances.
Functionally the Gluteus Maximus is a large powerful muscle, one of the most powerful in the human body. It’s the most superﬁcial of the three gluteal muscles and makes up a large proportion of the shape and appearance of the buttocks.
Its main action is to extend the leg (move it backwards) and is responsible for the power during running and jumping. It also stabilizes the pelvis during motion and athletic activities such as lunges, step ups, squats and deadlifts. It originates on the fascia of the back muscles, sacrum, coccyx and ileum. It inserts into the Iliotibial tract and Femur. It creates a link between the trunk and the the lower extremities by its connection to the fascia of the paraspinal muscles.
Functionally the GM can be tested as follows: have the subject lie prone with the knee bent to 90 degrees. Then have them squeeze the buttock muscles and slowly raise the leg off the table (similar to bungee press), while downward pressure is being applied. Difﬁculty or the inability to raise the leg while in this position will demonstrate weak GM.
To train the Gluteus Maximus in isolation using the Lagree Megaformer, the trainer has multiple options. Bungee press, hip thrusts, and single leg hip thrusts are the best isolation exercises to train the GM. Squats and lunges will stimulate the GM but they are complex exercises that also use the hamstrings and quads. It's important to use perfect form during lunges concentrating the force on the heel as you raise your body through the lunge. Deadlifts will work the GM if done properly. Perform deadlifts on the back of the M3, using very heavy springs (3 red +) putting attention to lifting through the legs with the glutes. Step ups on the back of the machine, are a good way to warm up the Glute muscles before isolation exercises. Other exercises working the GM include: spider kicks, donkey kicks, side leg press with and without the strap, scrambled eggs and lying side leg sweeps.
The Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus are located underneath the maximus and function mainly to abduct and rotate the leg. Also included in this group is the Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL), a stabilizer during walking and leg abductor. These muscles as a group are also intricately involved in stabilizing the hip during running complex athletic motion. They are often weak in athletes due to the over training of the GM, quads and hamstrings during running and cycling.
The Gmed originates at the iliac crest and inserts onto the lateral portion of the greater trochanter of the Femur. The Gmin originates below the Gmed, and also inserts on the Femur. Weak Gmed and Gmin muscles will cause problems during running and walking giving the subject a waddling gait. To test these muscles have the subject walk facing away from you. A sag in the pelvis is a sign of weak Gmed/Gmin muscles.
Training the Gmed Gmin on the Megaformer is accomplished by exercises that work the outer thighs. Theses include: standing outer thighs, the skating, squats with heaving springs and standing side kicks. The key to hitting these muscles is to contract the GM ﬁrst and then move the carriage feeling the contraction of the Gmed/Gmin. It's helpful to have the students place their hands on the buttocks when working the abductors to feel the contraction of the deeper Gmed. Side bungee works the abductors exclusively and can work the muscles to fatigue quickly. This modiﬁcation of bungee is accomplished by having the students lying on their side with the bungee chord on the foot. From this position have the students contract their quads, hamstrings and glutes, ﬂex the foot and lift the leg, stretching the bungee using the Gmed/min and TFL. Isolation training of the glutes can improve athletic performance and prevent injuries. Using the Lagree Megaformer, trainers can work the GM and Gmed/ Gmin muscles in a targeted fashion or in concert with the other muscles of the core and lower extremities.
As a trainer, it's important to work the Glutes using multiple exercises to activate the muscle in different planes. It is also extremely important to pay attention to the the students form to assure they are using the muscles as instructed. It is also important to verbalize the details of the technique during the exercise and use hands-on adjustments as needed to focus the students efforts on the correct muscles.
Since the Glutes are a large muscle group working to exhaustion will consume large quantities of oxygen which can help burn fat and create muscle.