The Fitness Zone
Resistance bands have received a lot of bad press recently as a lot of trainers and clients alike feel that adding a small band onto any exercise will ‘inflate that booty’, but in fact, it acts as a great stabiliser for the pocket rocket muscle called the Gluteus Medius. This is because the fibres of this muscle are responsible for hip internal and external rotation, as well as hip abduction. If this muscle is not engaged correctly throughout movement, the general term used is that ‘your glutes are not firing’.
When properly switched on, the Gluteus Medius is responsible for stabilising the pelvis, as well as keeping the hip, knee and ankle in alignment. If we cannot achieve this alignment, typically we see a knee drop in strength and athletic movements, as well as it being more evident in a clients lunge. Long term, it could have implications on running technique and could cause long term injury.
So what can we do to fire up this muscle?!
Here my top 4 exercises to get it all fired up and ready for your workout:
1. Short band clam: Ensure you are in side lying position with the band above your knee. Externally rotate hip with knee top knee lifting from the bottom leg and heels remaining in contact. Use isometrics and tempo control for progressions.
2. Short band lateral walks: This exercise is one that is done the most incorrectly in gyms worldwide, so listen up! Position band above knees whilst body is in athletic neutral. Lead leg shifts laterally whilst your ‘heels lead the way’. When opposite side leg shifts across, ensure that there is still tension in the band, otherwise you will not get the most out of this exercise! Progressions can include isometric holds, change of direction and mirrors with a partner.
3. Short band ‘Fire Hydrant’: Commence in a strong 4-point position with band above the knees. With control, abduct a hip laterally between 45-90 degrees from neutral. Ensure that spine and pelvic remain in neutral. Progression can include isometrics, tempo control and elevating opposite arm off the ground.
4. Short band squat jump: A recent study has shown that bands have great activation pre and post jump to keep pelvis in alignment. Commencing with band above knees, start from eccentric phase then power up into a jump. Ensure a soft ‘ninja’ type landing. Notice the difference before and after using the band.
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