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ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, What Does a Glute Specialist Do?

What Does a Glute Specialist Do?

Reading Time: 3 minutes 17 seconds


DATE: 2023-07-18

You read that right! Training the glutes is a thing and, yes, it's important for an overall physical look, but there are additional reasons to train your glutes on a regular basis. Enter the Certified Glute Specialist!

Can the average personal trainer train the glutes? Of course! But why not expand your knowledge of this integral muscle group and become a Certified Glute Specialist?! Let's dive into the importance of the glutes and look at what a glute specialist does.

Why the Glutes are Important

Most people are what is considered sedentary—they sit most of the day and are likely not as active as they should be. This, unfortunately, also means that many have weak or inactive glutes. This can show up in many ways including pain in the knees, hips, or back; weak ankles; or tight hip flexors. Instead of simply living with these types of issues, Glute Specialists are helping people to reduce their pain and build stronger glute muscles.

Did you know the glutes are the largest muscle in the body? Specifically, the gluteus maximus. And they are a big muscle group for a reason! The glutes are activated in many movements and play a critical role in balance, stability, power, agility, and athletic endeavors.

Everyone can benefit from glute training regardless of the training goal: athletes, the general population, kids, and seniors. After all, balance, agility, and stability are helpful for everyone!

Anatomy of the Glutes

The three muscles that make up the glutes are:

  • Gluteus maximus - responsible for hip extension, abduction, and external rotation.

  • Gluteus medius - responsible for hip abduction and some hip extension and external rotation.

  • Gluteus minimus - responsible for hip abduction.

A deep understanding of the anatomy of the glutes and the muscle action(s) of each muscle helps a glute specialist better select exercises that target these muscles. For example, a glute kickback is the execution of hip extension. This is a great way to target the gluteus maximus, but it does little to activate the gluteus medius and minimus. Instead, movements that take the leg out to the side (abduction) are required to activate the smaller glute muscles.

Glute Training

A Glute Specialist is well-versed in the musculature of the glutes and the lumbopelvic hip complex (LPHC). The LPHC has a large role in the activation of the glutes and the muscles of the LPHC work to stabilize the hips, low back, and glutes. It also serves as the transition from the upper body to the lower body and is sometimes called the core.

Muscles of the LPHC include:

  • The leg adductors

  • Psoas

  • Rectus abdominus

  • External obliques

  • Transverse abdominis

  • Internal obliques

A Glute Specialist takes this information and uses it to create glute-focused training programs that focus on activating and strengthening the glutes.

Glute Activation

Activation of a muscle group before executing major compound movements involves low-load exercises or flexibility and mobility techniques that increase blood flow to the muscle or muscle group, release muscle adhesions and promote optimal muscle fiber length, improve muscle recruitment, and improve neuromuscular control of the target muscles.

Glute activation before a workout and when used to improve mobility can change everything! To activate the glutes, a Glute specialist can employ foam rolling (self-myofascial release) or exercises like:

  • Mini band clamshell

  • Mini band monster walks

  • Mini band lateral walks

  • Mini band glute bridges

  • Cable hip extensions

  • Good morning

  • Stability ball hamstring curls

Glute Strengthening

Glute training exercises focus on the glutes, but they can have the added benefit of reducing back pain, reducing knee and sciatic nerve pain, improving athletic performance and general agility, and giving someone the aesthetic of a nicer bottom. There are many exercises that a glute specialist learns that target the glutes specifically as well as the surrounding muscles like the quadriceps and hamstrings.

Some common glute-specific exercises you'll get to teach your clients as a Glute Specialist include:

  • Hip thrust

  • Deadlift

  • Kettlebell swing

  • Kickbacks

Check out this ISSA handout for more great glute exercises: Best Bets to Target the Glutes

There is a variety of equipment that can be used in glute training as well. From resistance bands to barbells, mini bands to cables, glute training can be done anywhere.

Glute Training is for Everyone—Including YOU!

The addition of glute-focused training to your training programs will not only improve your client's results but also give you an edge over other fitness professionals! You'll gain in-depth knowledge of the anatomy and functions of the glutes and associated muscles and the best ways to activate, strengthen, and grow them. You'll also help clients understand why stronger glute muscles are about more than just looks. Help them move better, feel better, and remain injury-free for longer.

Become an ISSA Certified Glute Specialist today!

Featured Course

ISSA | 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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