In this post, I want to show you how we will actually strengthen our glutes after we have ensured that they are turned on and ready to go. In our situation, when hockey players get into the routine of playing and/or practicing every day, the hip flexors can become short and tight. It is imperative that the glutes and hip extensors are doing their jobs as effectively as possible on the opposite side of the hips to help allow the hip flexors to relax.
After our activation phase in our workouts, we will utilize exercises in our workouts that strengthen the glutes in conjunction with other muscles to produce hip extension and hip external rotation.
We will use many different exercises and patterns within our strength program that will ensure the glutes are used. These are just some examples that we use all throughout the year:
Kettle Bell Slideboard Split Squat- This is a great exercise that is frequently used in-season. The glute on the front leg gets a lot of work on the ascent back up to the starting position.
Kettle Bell 1-Leg S.L.D.L.- This is an exercise that we use for single leg hip-hinging and hip extension patterns.
Slideboard Leg Curl- This is one of our favorite hip extension plus knee flexion pattern. This is a great way to strengthen the hamstrings while getting good glute contraction to keep the hips extended.
Bench Hip Lift- This is a new variation that we have been incorporating into our program for the last year or so. We have recently been experimenting with loading this movement more and more. Although we have done this as an “activation” exercise on the stability ball in the past, I have recently been re-introduced to this by Bret Contreras. We will continue to look for ways to progress in this exercise by adding load and/or going to single leg variations.