The Great Glute Challenge

Last week we talked about the importance of glute strength in order to support the muscles of the core, and Dara shared her 5 favourite clamshell exercises for the glutes and core.

But Laura is not one to be outdone…and so it looks like we’ve got a good old fashioned glute showdown going on here at Mama Reset! 👱🏼‍♀️💥👩🏻‍🦰

When we think of the glutes, we want to focus on two aspects:

Stability AND mobility combined make optimal core strength.

Stability AND mobility combined make optimal core strength.

👉🏾 hip stability — or the ability to maintain balance — to create a strong base for the movement of the limbs and strength of the core;

👉🏽 hip mobility — or the ability to move through a full range of motion — to allow for powerful, fluid movement.

Most of us have experienced the feeling of tight, stiff muscles around the hips and even in the hip joints. These restrictions can have an impact not just downwardly, on the ability to move the leg, but upwardly, on the movement of the spine, pelvic and core muscles too!

So while glute exercises are super important, it’s not all about #bunsofsteel.

You gotta move those hips. Get loose, if you will.

When you think about releasing tension in the hips and butt you might picture hours on a foam roller or long-held yoga stretches. In fact, research shows mobilizing these muscles and joints is just as, or even more effective, than passive stretching.

So this week Laura’s got you covered with 5 pilates-inspired clamshell variations that focus on both hip mobility as well as stability. You get two for the price of one with these movements. A serious double whammy!

Feel free to try these exercises with a pilates ball or a light dumbbell but doing the movements with bodyweight alone will still give you the glute benefits….and the burn! 🍑🔥

Broken Clam

Lying on your side, bend your knees and stack your shoulders and hips on top of each other. If using a weight, place it behind your knee and squeeze slightly. Inhale to allow your belly and pelvic floor to relax and expand and on your exhale, lift the top leg up in one long line. Inhale to lower the leg back down and repeat.

Fancy Clam

Bring the top leg up as you did in broken clam and keep the leg lifted as you tip your knee downward and then lift the knee back up. Imagine rolling your leg bone in the hip socket. Check that your pelvis does not roll forward or back, but it is just the leg moving.

Fire Hydrants

Come onto all 4’s with your hands under your shoulders and hips under your knees. Press firmly into your hands so your arms work to keep you lifted. Allow your belly and pelvic floor to relax as you inhale and on the exhale feel your low belly gently draw in as you lift your leg out to the side…think, a dog going pee at a fire hydrant. Classy, we know!

Standing Clam

Bring yourself to a wall or hold onto a chair and stand actively on one leg. Check that your standing leg has a slight bend in the knee. If using a weight, place it behind the knee of the lifted leg. On your exhale keep your leg bent and move it out the side, similar to how you did in broken clam. Stay with this or add the fancy clam variation, bringing your knee to turn inward toward your standing knee and then back out.

Side Star Plank

Come into a side plank position, up on your hand, or elbow if wrists are sensitive. Extend your top leg long and lift it up to hip height. As you inhale shift your bum back toward your heels and bend your top leg, as if you were curling into a ball. On the exhale shift your weight toward and extend your top leg.

There is A LOT going on with this exercise. You’ll probably feel your bottom leg working to support you as well as the top hip as you bend and straighten your leg.

HOW TO INCORPORATE THESE INTO YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE:

  • Use the above exercises as a warm up/cool down circuit before a yoga flow, weight training or cardio workout

  • Pair these with some core exercises for a major core and glute workout

  • Try one or two of these between heavier weight training exercises to help you get connected to your glutes and encourage deep core engagement.

Looking for some complimentary movement and exercises? Check these out:

Dara Bergeron