This is an article that I’m a little uncomfortable writing. This is because I feel like I’m giving away my secret. That being said, it isn’t really my secret to give. It is something I’ve figured out after studying the best. And the secret is this: train the glutes!
This trick, is what has our athletes leaving the gym after a summer of training, saying that they REALLY notice a difference on the ice.
What do I mean when I say, train the glutes? Well, gluteus maximus is your biggest, most powerful muscle in the body. Its job is to extend and externally rotate the hips. (Hint: skating requires powerful hip extension and external rotation!) Unfortunately, many trainers neglect to train the glutes. How? Sloppy setup mechanics for all lifts, sloppy squat and deadlift mechanics can cause your body to train other muscles instead of the glutes. Commonly, I see deadlifters and squatters “tension hunting”, consequently using their hamstrings to hip extend. Even worse, I see athletes who perform their movements mostly using knee flexion and extension instead of hip flexion/extension. These athletes, are not only mashing their knees, but training their body to use less powerful muscles…the quadriceps.
Listen to Dan John, Kelly Starrett, Louie Simmons, and they’ll all tell share a similar message: you need to learn to use technique that uses the glutes correctly in your lifts. Train those movements properly, and you’ll be able to lift more, which will make you stronger, which will help your performance more. Train those movements properly, and they’ll become a part of your athletic or sport movement patterns too! Train those movements properly and you’ll reduce your risk of injury.
How do we ensure our athletes are training their glutes? Here’s how:
- Ensure they know perfect setup mechanics for a lift
- The above includes squeezing glutes, toes forward, screw feet into ground, shove knees out
- Ensure that athletes posteriorly load on all lifts.
- Teach athletes proper triple extension, avoiding lordosis
- Use exercises that bias hip flexion and extension
Train your glutes with proper movement patterns, and see your lifts jump through the roof if you’re using the correct movement patterns. You’ll then see your on-ice performance jump through the roof right behind your lifts.
All the best, and have fun developing buns of steel!