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ISSA Talk: The Science Building Better Glutes

Reading Time: 5 minutes 19 seconds

Edited for clarity.

Erin Mahoney:

Hey, everybody. Welcome to ISSA Talk. I'm Erin Mahoney, VP of Product over here at ISSA and you are joining in on part two of a webinar series on ISSA's new course, our Certified Glute Specialist. Today, I have joining with me, Jenny Scott. Jenny, thank you.

Jenny Scott:

Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Erin Mahoney:

Of course, so the reason why we've got Jenny here is because she was the mastermind behind the development of this new course. She's our glute resident expert with over 11 years of experience as a personal trainer. She also coaches volleyball. She knows how the glutes impact athleticism and she also is a national level figure competitor. She walks the walk. She talks the talk. She does it all and now she's going to tell us something we covered briefly—the myth that you cannot just squat or deadlift your way to perfect glutes. Jenny, you say that over and over, and I want to know what it means so tell us.

Jenny Scott:

Absolutely. I mean, the science behind it is outstanding. There's so much to support that. Yes, squats and deadlifts are great for your glutes, but they're more focused on your quads and your hamstrings. Think about it. Knee flexion and extension and then a lot of the flexion at your hips is controlled by your quads and is definitely controlled by your hamstrings. When you do those types of movements, that's great. Yes, you'll hit glutes because they dynamically control your hips, but you do have to really target in on your glutes to get those. There's specific-

Erin Mahoney:

Hold up. Hold up. You're telling me that all these years, when clients are like, "Hey, I want my butt to look better and let's do squats," that they had it all wrong? Well, they would. They are there the clients, right?

Jenny Scott:

Yeah. Yeah. Squats are great, but they're not going to specifically target your glutes. You'll get a lot of leg out of it, but yeah, there's more that we can do.

Erin Mahoney:

All right. Keep going. Tell me more.

Jenny Scott:

Absolutely. The biggest part, when you start a glute training program specifically aimed at your glutes, your glute max is the biggest muscle in your body. Awesome. The two other muscles included in the glutes are not necessarily as big. There's a lot of activation and movement prep that takes part in glute training.

We talk a lot about that in this new course. Specifically, movement prep includes a lot of corrective exercise. If you are not corrective exercise certified, you'll get some info here, but dig into it. It's great information. Foam rolling, stretching the specific muscles that need to be stretched, not every muscle in your body, but also being able to identify on a client. What is overactive, what is underactive through assessments and watching them through their movement patterns to watch their kinetic change checkpoints. Huge, absolutely huge for identifying what you need to take care of before you start to lift and then what activities you can do during their lift to get the best results.

Erin Mahoney:

Perfect. What in your experience, going through all the research around glutes and also working with a number of clients, what do you find are the areas? You talked about foam rolling and looking at those overactive areas. What are you targeting with your clients or most commonly for that movement prep part of glute training?

Jenny Scott:

Absolutely. I do a lot of movement assessments. I like the squat assessment because a lot of people have tight hip flexors. Most of us sit for 60 to 80% of our day, whether you're sitting at a desk, you're driving in your car, you're eating dinner at a table. That's still sitting or you're sitting on the sofa, watching TV at the end of the day. We sit a lot. Those hip flexors get overactive and it can change your posture. It changes the way that your pelvis tilts forward or back.

Jenny Scott:

I look at static assessments as well. Someone's just standing there, I'll walk around them in a circle and take a look and you can see what's tight. Sometimes people have overactive hamstrings, oddly enough, as well. That can change the tilt of your pelvis, which always affects your movement patterns. That's where I always start.

Erin Mahoney:

If you have overactive hamstrings, does that impact your ability to target your glutes?

Jenny Scott:

Absolutely. Having a posterior pelvic tilt, which is usually a result of having overactive hamstrings and glutes, it will change the way that you squat. You're not able to stretch those muscle fibers to the length that they need to be during certain movements. Then that means you're not activating them properly.

Erin Mahoney:

Awesome. Okay. Really cool. Really good information. I'm guessing there's a huge amount of people out there who think that they know how to work their glutes, or they know how to work their client's glutes and you haven't even started talking about the exercises yet. You talked about the movement prep, those were exercises. Now tell me about the things that really bring home building the best glutes possible.

Jenny Scott:

Absolutely. There's two different planes that we train glutes on and that's what we talk about in this course. There's the vertical loading so things like lunges, split squats, where you're going up and down, and then there's horizontal loading where you'll lay down for something like a hip thrust or a bridge. Horizontal loading is the most effective for glute training. That's really how you're going to get those glutes to fire and not just your glute max, your glute media and your glute minimus as well.

A lot of trainers with squats, that's in the sagittal plane. Awesome. But those smaller glute muscles are really activated with abduction of the thigh and then external and internal rotation of that femur. There's a lot of different movement patterns that we discussed in this book that will really fire off all parts of your glutes, not just the big part that we can see, but the underlying parts that stabilize your pelvis.

Erin Mahoney:

Fantastic. Just like, I mean, everything else, it's not always exactly what you're looking at that you need to work, but there's a bunch of other things like building a foundation of a house. Right?

Jenny Scott:

Absolutely.

Erin Mahoney:

Okay, cool so I've uncovered some interesting key points that definitely squatting isn't always the right way to get it done. Also, the hamstrings, tight hamstrings can prevent us from having awesome glutes. What would you say going through this process is something is a key takeaway that you think a lot of trainers don't know about targeting the glutes?

Jenny Scott:

Definitely using the horizontal plane. Things like hip thrusts, bridges, really having your clients engage their glutes and their hamstrings a little bit of course, those will work too, but just the different angles of movement that we really need to use is key. Again, not just squats, it can't just be step ups and deadlifts, especially not just in that sagittal plane. It has to be a little bit more dynamic to really get your glutes.

Erin Mahoney:

Awesome. Horizontal loading. You heard it. Okay. Fantastic. Jenny, thank you so much for joining us and giving us those takeaways. Please check out our new Glute Specialization. Jenny, I can't say enough good things about what she's learned and what she's brought to the table on this. We're hoping that you can deliver the same information to your clients, getting them superior results that they never would have gotten before just by squatting and lunging!

ISSA

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Certified Glute Specialist

The ISSA Glute Training Specialist Course teaches trainers the science behind building better glutes and how to focus on these muscle groups to give clients the best results. You’ll learn how to unlock the hips, create better programming, and deliver envious results. You’ll master the art of developing a superior posterior and be the go-to glute expert!

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