The glutes are regarded as one of the most crucial muscles to develop. From aesthetics, to injury prevention, to performance, the ability to recruit and develop a strong pair of glutes is essential.
In addition to a liberal use of cheesy puns about glutes, I demonstrated several exercises that I believe (and are supported by research) to be best for strengthening the glutes. However, I’m quite sure I’ve found something more effective.
You won’t find any research on this, mostly because to my knowledge it has not be described or studied. We’ve been using this with our clients, and our own workouts, at Spectrum with a lot of success.
Here’s why it is such a great exercise:
1. Works end-range hip extension: Most exercise challenge the glutes in the stretched position of full hip flexion, however exert minimal tension on the glutes as they near full hip extension. Exerting force at full hip extension is perhaps the most crucial function of the glutes, especially for lifting while sparing the spine, and in running or jumping.
2. Minimal load on the knees and spine. Because the load is applied in a horizontal vector through the pelvis, as opposed to vertically, there is minimal compressive load upon the knees and spine. This solves a common problem with utilizing the lunges, deadlifts, and squats for training the glutes
3. Easy to learn: Our most basic clients have had little trouble learning this move. In fact, we are also using this with our physical therapy patients who have significant motor control issues with great success.
4. Easy to modify and progress: Bridges can only be modified so many ways. In contrast. this exercise can utilize bands in various ways to provide minimal to maximum challenge, even for elite lifters.
Check out the video below to see how it is done:
Here’s the one leg version:
So what do we call this exercise? Terminal Hip Extensions, or T.H.E.s . We’ve had a lot of “Who’s on first” moments with this name (Hey Tom, let’s try doing t.h.e. with Diane today. The what?…). I’m easily amused so the name stuck!
This can be a great new tool to use to challenge the glutes. Doesn’t mean we will abandon the lunges, deads, or squats, but we will be using this option more often.