Let’s get right to it. Your butt matters. So much so that I can predict much of your physical fitness potential by how much you can engage, squeeze, and contract your precious tush.
It’s ostensibly bad for business for me to go around squeezing my client’s rear ends to see if their glutes are contracted tight. Realizing the importance of the role of the glutes to good health, some trainers legitimately do palpitate their client’s glutes to see if they’re “active” or not. I don’t need to do this because whether you have strong healthy glutes, or they’re asleep at the wheel, plenty of Squats and Swings are in your future.
I know something about you and your bum. Here it is- I know that you’re not squeezing your glutes as hard as you could be, or should be, while engaged in KB Swings.
The following exchange happens more frequently than I care to admit:
Danny: “On this set, squeeze your glutes more.”
Client: “Oh, I already am every time.”
Danny: “No, you’re not.”
Client: “Ah, Danny, I’m telling you, I am. I really am.”
Danny: “Listen, I’m not Matt Lauer, so I can’t pinch your cheeks Katie, but I’m telling you, you need to squeeze them together- hard.”
Client: “Danny, I thought I was but OK…”
So why am I such a pain in your ass? Why do I care if you squeeze your buns together?
Because the glutes are a huge, strong, important muscle group that affects strength, mobility, longevity and general ambulatory ability. Don’t neglect your glutes anymore.
The glutes extend the hips, and hip extension or “hip drive” and your ability to do it in a Squat, Swing, or Deadlift is mighty important.
I cue you during your set of Swings, some of you have already heard me. Some of you will soon.
Danny says, “Fast hard glutes.”
“Squeeze your butt cheeks together as fast and as hard as you can.”
Pavel said to me back in 2001, “Danny, like you’re squeezing a quarter between your cheeks.” Keep the quarter.
The glutes spark hip extension and that’s what drives the Kettlebell. Forget the arms. Your pipes are just along for a free ride like your passed-out Uncle on the sofa. All the arms do is hold the bell, not lift it. Think “hooks.” Same goes for the Dead-lift. The hands hold the bar with iron-rod-straight arms. Then the back cranes the bar aloft.
Strong, developed glutes help you to run fast, squat, jump high, and Swing heavy bells. Dare I say they, along with most muscles, look a hell of a lot more attractive than atrophied ones. Most things in nature look healthy when they are.
Watch any group of sprinters- not long distance runners, do you see glutes? Of course you do. Hard to miss. And a key predictor of athletic ability is the ability to jump. Can you jump really high? You’re an athlete.
You don’t care about this, I know. You’re not reading this because you want to sprint, you want to be healthy and hot. But you should care about possessing athletically capable buns. Here’s why- You will look better when you athletically perform (lift heavier and swing harder) better, and having a set of high performing glutes, which are the foundational muscles in athletic performance, will dictate much of your performance potential.
Got that? Your glutes help you perform, and when you perform athletically through your training at a higher level- alas! You’ll look good. Damn good.
Glute muscle size and strength is also correlated with longevity. In other words if baby got back then baby got more years to come. Never mind fewer slips and falls in older folks that have strong glutes and hips.
If you or someone you love is afflicted with a saggy bottom, this likely means that the glutes have been on a protracted coffee break. They are weak and atrophied- not good.
But there is more than just hope, there is the downright promise of better everything (walking, mobility, sex, exercise, dancing, tennis, skiing, gardening, cycling name it…) if you begin to Squat, Swing or Dead lift properly. Dammit, these lifts will make your rump and the rest of you downright sexy.
It’s almost trite to mention New Years resolutions on a fitness blog like mine, but make one you can keep in 2018. Promise to get your rear in gear- literally. Get focused on the glutes. The hamstrings. The muscles behind you. They matter. A lot.
Learn to Squat properly. And I mean the Barbell Low Bar Squat, not an inferior machine Squat…please don’t even get me started on that topic. I’ll teach you to Squat properly. You’re going to Swing some heavy KB’s. I’ll teach you those too.
Your glutes are a big strong muscle. It’ll take a big splash of stimulus to bring them up to snuff, but I’ve got it for you. Can I be a pain in the ass? Definitely. Is it worth it? Absolutely.