Activation & why you need it
What’s all this fuss about activation? You might have seen me talking about activation circuits in my Instagram stories and YouTube Videos. What is activation and why is it important?
Importance of Activation
We all know that warming up before you train is important to decrease the risk of injury by preparing your nervous system for the exercise you are about to do, increasing blood flow to muscles and increasing range of motion.
In today’s world, many of us lead a very sedentary life and spend the day in an office sitting down most the day. As a result, peoples posture get compromised, they get tight hip flexors, a weakened core and find it difficult to activate their glutes as these muscles aren’t used as much as they should be. As a personal trainer, I see this all the time- when clients first come to me and they show me a bodyweight squat, they are not activating their glutes. Sometimes not at all.
Are you Activating your glutes when you squat?
Let’s see how you go. I want you to stand up. Yep you.
Place your feet a bit wider than shoulder width apart. I now want you to imagine yourself trying to tear the floor apart with your feet. This should cement your lateral (outer) part of your feet and heels into the ground. I want you to now bend your knees just a tiny bit, just so they aren’t locked out, but keep them rather straight. Keep your upper body upright- shoulders pulled back and chest proud. Now, squeeze your glutes. You can physically put your hands on your glutes to feel that squeeze. Slowly start moving into a squat position. Pretend you are taking a seat on a chair behind you whilst keeping that squeeze. Your knees should be flaring outwards and you should keep those heels in the ground. This eccentric (downwards) phase of the movement should remain slow and controlled. Then, push up through the heels and squeeze your glutes the whole way up.
Does it feel different from a squat you usually would do?
Reduce the risk of injury, managing back pain & building core strength
Not activating your glutes can essentially lead to that your glutes don’t fire as they should during your workout and your body having to compensate. This may over time lead to injuries and imbalances, including lower back pain.
I personally have a lower back injury- bulged disk in my lower back. It was after getting that injury that I realized the importance of core strength and getting in to doing a lot of glute activation work has really helped me manage my injury and strengthen muscles safely. Activating your glutes and core will help you train safer, betters your form and you get more out of your workouts! Which ultimately will help you reach your fitness goals faster- whether it is fat oss or gaining lean muscle mass.
Aura Eve Booty Bands
I am proud to be an ambassador for Aura Eve since earlier in 2017. I use their booty bands as part of my own workouts and for clients too, all who really realize the benefit if them when using them as part of our sessions.
What the Aura Eve Booty bands help with, is adding that slight resistance to your activation exercises which help you really fire your muscles. Take the above squat example for example- adding booty bands into that scenario makes you really have to focus on pushing your knees outwards- helping you fire your leg muscles and getting more out of the activation exercise.
The best thing is- you can do a whole high rep burner workout with Aura Eve booty bands too! Which is a nice variation to your gym days or perfect for when you travel as they are light to take with you! And even if they are called “booty bands”, the exercises really help you build core strength and activates your whole body for the workout! I have put a couple example workouts below for you to enjoy!
Aura Eve Booty Band Activation Circuits
These circuits may be done before you start heavier lifts with weights or join them into one workout!
The standing-up activation circuit
Complete 3 rounds
- Aura Eve Crab walks- 45 seconds
- Aura Eve squats x10 followed by 10 pulses
- Aura Eve walking lunges with glute kick, 20 steps
- Aura Eve single leg Romanian deadlifts x 10 each side
The floor activation circuit
Complete 3 rounds
- Aura Eve Glute bridges (push knees outwards) x 10, 10 pulses each side
- Aura Eve lying clams x 10, 10 pulses each side
- Aura Eve Lying leg lifts x 10, 10 pulses each side
- Aura Eve donkey kicks x 10, 10 pulses each side
The HIIT activation circuit- (also a great add to the end of your lift days!)
Complete 3 rounds
- Aura Eve jumping jacks x 10
- Aura eve squat jump burpees x10
- Aura eve jumping lunges x10
- Aura Eve Squat Jumps x 10
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