I am a huge fan of using mini bands for glute activation exercises. Let’s just say that my personal training clients are very used to me saying, “let me grab a band” at the start of their sessions. I love to kick off a strength training workout with some glute activation to ensure that they get the most out of all the squats, lunges and deadlifts they’ll be doing throughout the session.
In this post, I’m sharing a four-movement glute activation sequence that is a perfect warm up for strength training lower body. I’m wrapping up the post with links to some of my favorite mini-bands. They are a great piece of equipment to have at home or throw in your bag if you’re traveling!
WHY ARE GLUTE ACTIVATION EXERCISES IMPORTANT?
Before we talk about the specific exercises I am recommending in today’s post – let’s talk about why! Your glutes are the biggest muscle in your body and they have a play a few important roles. Proper movement of the hip comes from the glutes. Your glutes are responsible for hip extension, hip abduction and internal and external rotation of the hip joint. I look at glutes as an important part of the overall makeup of your core.
It’s no secret that many of us spend way too much time sitting in our modern day culture. This has lead to an epidemic of weak glutes that have lost their ability to fire correctly. When your glutes aren’t firing you are prone to experiencing low back pain, hamstring injuries, knee pain and more.
Glute activation exercises specifically target the muscles that make up the glute and both strengthen them and train them to fire correctly.
GLUTE ACTIVATION IS IMPORTANT FOR RUNNERS!
These exercises are also great for runners. I cannot stress enough how important glute activation is for runners when it comes to form, speed, efficiency, injury prevention and more. Highly recommend adding in a few minutes doing some mini band glute activation exercises before you head out for your run – especially if you’ve been sitting most of the day.
MINI BAND GLUTE ACTIVATION EXERCISES
All you need to perform these exercises is a mini band, something to sit on and something to lean on. Do each of these exercises for one minute.
- Four-step lateral shuffle – start with the mini band positioned right above the ankles and the feet hip distance apart. Find an athletic stance by taking a soft bend in your knees and bracing your core. Keeping feet hips distance apart the whole time, take four steps over to the left and then four steps over to the right. Press tension out on the band the whole time.
- Rear leg lifts (30 seconds on each side) – start with the mini band above the ankles. Hinge at the waist and lean forward placing your hands on something to brace against. Soften your standing leg and extend the opposite heel straight back with a little lift at the top, return the working leg next to the standing leg for one rep. Try to keep your hips square as you do this movement.
- Seated hip abduction pulse outs – place the band right above the knees and bring knees hip distance part. Sit up tall and engage your core. Press out on the band is small, controlled pulses.
- Banded hip thrusts – place the band above the knees and bring knees hips distance apart. Rest your upper back on the edge of a bench, coffee table, couch, etc. You want the back placement to be right around the center of the shoulder blades. Cross your arm over your chest and keep your neck neutral. Lower your hips down towards the floor and then press into the heels and squeeze the glutes to lift hips parallel to knees. Press out on the band as you’re doing this.
VIDEO DEMO OF EACH EXERCISE
Here’s a video with demonstrations of all of the glute activation exercises that you see above.
THE BEST MINI BANDS FOR GLUTE ACTIVATION EXERCISES
- Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands ($12.95) – I have these mini bands at home and they are awesome! They come in five different resistance levels with a handy carrying case. These bands are super versatile and can be used in a variety of different ways. For example, sometimes I’ll use them for upper body or core exercises. Easy to throw in your gym bag or a suitcase. They have been on many trips with me!
- Fabric Booty Bands ($24.97) – I use this type of band at the gym a lot when I am strictly working glute activation and mostly when I’m having clients place the band above the knees. They’re great because they don’t slip, roll, pinch or break but they’re a little less versatile than the bands above. I would still highly recommend these for how strong and sturdy they are. They also don’t stretch out as quickly as the other bands.
HAPPY GLUTE ACTIVATING + MORE RESOURCES
I hope you found this post to be helpful. Here are a few other posts you might want to check out that involve glute work and mini band exercises.
- Total Body Mini Band Workout
- 5 Best Exercises for Glute Activation
- Core Exercises for Runners
- Bodyweight Booty Workout – 5 Exercises to Shape and Sculpt Glutes
Let me know if you have any questions!
This was super helpful. I bring a mini band with me to the gym to do my physical therapy exercises, which include the side steps you mentioned. I will also incorporate the other exercises in your video. Thanks for posting and videoing these ideas!
Great info!! I do ‘monster walks’, similar to the shuffle, twice a week in my warm up for CrossFit class. I’m very proud of my full depth squat with upright stance (I’m 58) and I credit it to my strong glutes. I’ve also started doing the pose running, after taking a class at the gym, and hopefully strong glutes will help me there. I have a question – do you concentrate on a forefoot strike when you run? It took me a few months to get comfortable with it, and I can’t say I’m fully there.