Core Exercises are Glute Activation Exercises

     Core stabilization exercises such as front planks, side planks, belly presses have been staple exercises at Endeavor and deservedly so.  Core stabilization exercises are typically what we are after when working with our athletes but we can also stabilize the wrong structures, namely by using passive structures (hanging onto our ligaments).  Most people basically live in some type of anterior pelvic tilt because of the associated desk-jockey lifestyle (sitting for many hours during the day).  Sitting is hip flexion, therefore sitting for long periods of time will cause the hip flexors to become stiff and/or short which have a downward pull on the pelvis.

How many people do you see with the waistline like this?


     Anterior pelvic tilt changes our natural posture or alignment which then throws off the stabilization recruitment patterns of muscles.  So, if we live in this position, the best option to stabilize is from bony approximation (vertebrae of the spine getting closer together).  Charlie Weingroff had a great quote on his blog describing what happens when we have this anterior pelvic tilt, ” This anterior tilt creates bony approximation, and that bony approximation tells the brain, “Hey, we’re good down here.  We have stability from bones being closer togther.  We don’t need any inner core.  You guys can take a break.”  The natural curves of the spine are that way to resist compression and accommodate shear forces.  Consequently, anything more or less than the natural curves may cause problems.   

     High percentage of people have anterior pelvic tilt = Hammering away on glute activation even during core stabilization exercises.  During basic core stabilization exercises there are many times where you will see athletes or clients in this position.  Make core exercises that occur in the tall kneeling, 1/2 kneeling, and plank positions glute activation exercises.  This position (glutes squeezed and through) puts the athletes back in neutral alignment and forces them to use the core to truly stabilize instead of hanging on their spinal structures or hip flexors.  There is usually always some grimacing expression as if that same exercise just became increasingly more difficult.  Here are two pictures of what you may see or do with core exercises.  With all the exercises you have to have the glutes squeezed through the entire time (if in 1/2 kneeling position, the down leg should be squeezed the entire time).



Yeahhhh Buddy!




Categories: Core Training

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5 replies

  1. Matt, Great article. I coach high school girls basketball and I am constantly trying to get them to stay flat in planks without pelvic tilt. As mentioned in your article what are some examples of 1/2 kneeling, tall kneeling core exercises with glute activation that you use?
    Thanks. Greg

    • Greg,
      First off keep up the great work, you are already ahead of the game if you are really engaged with your athletes. There are just too many trainers/coaches that I have seen that just watch the athletes. Keep it up! As for the tall or 1/2 kneeling exercises, I am talking about belly presses (you may also hear them as Pallof Presses) . Here is a couple youtube videos of 1/2 kneeling belly press & tall kneeling. For both exercises, the feet should be pulled up towards the shins (so that your essentially on the ball of your foot), firing the glutes the entire time. You want to make sure the athletes are not saggin forward into the hips but maintain an alignment from knee to ears. For 1/2 kneeling the bottom leg glute should be fired the entire time. Typically a good starting point for this would be 2-3 x of 15-20 second holds each side and then you could progress to reps like in the last video (8-12 reps/set). 1/2 kneeling belly press isohold tall-kneeling iso 1/2 kneeling belly press (dynamic for reps)

      Let me know if you need any other information!


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