By Tom Tawell
The butt, booty or glute workout (take your pick!) is a fitness trend in fast ascendency, with people of all ages, genders, abilities, and fitness levels looking to hone in on the vast array of benefits it offers.
If you aren’t already focusing and scheduling direct glute work into your clients’ programmes, and implementing the equipment that allows you to deliver this, you could be missing a MASSIVE opportunity to increase their performance and results, whether that’s in a gym environment or a sports performance setting.
And let’s face it, Instagram is full of people showing off their toned glutes (even if they’re beginning to realise that there’s more to butt workouts than simply creating a fuller, firmer behind!)
According to Tracy Morrell, Director of React Fitness, the exclusive UK distributor for Booty Builder, the world’s leading hip thrust machine, butt workouts are being adopted by an increasingly diverse audience, including everyone from gym-goers and bodybuilders to medical professionals and sports teams.
“The emphasis on glute training is growing rapidly,” says Morrell. “We have such a wide range of customers, from small, independent gyms to bodybuilding studios, big-box franchises, and everything in between. Gymbox, Anytime Fitness, Gold’s Gym, and the LA Lakers are just some of the notable brands using Booty Builder to provide their members or players with the ultimate glute workout.”
Butt why (pardon the pun) should you be getting on board with booty workouts? Let’s take a look…
Enhancing stability and mobility
Similar to the core, which is involved in almost every movement of the human body, the glutes play a HUGE biomechanical role, as outlined in a study by Bartlett JL et al (2014) which lists the following functions:
- Provide pelvic girdle and femur stability and mobility for controlled multidirectional movements
- Protect knee when leg is extended
- Stabilisation of the trunk during flexion
Hasit Jethwa, Health and Fitness Tutor for The Training Room, explains this further: “All muscles situated near the pelvic region play a huge role in stabilising and/or fixating through different ranges of motion. Whether you’re performing a squat, deadlift or bent-over row, these exercises are beneficial for everybody, as they are big movements that require correct glute activation.
“But, if you do not work or isolate the glutes, you will never build the mind-muscle connection or strength required to reach your potential in movements like squats or deadlifts, so it’s important for PTs to help facilitate this.”
By incorporating glute workouts into your clients’ training programmes, making their bodies more stable and mobile, you’ll be improving their ability to perform daily activities, sport, and recreation – enabling them to do more, be more and achieve more.
“Because of the positive effects glute activation has on physical function, strength and performance, butt workouts can help your clients to accomplish an all-round better quality of life with benefits for their overall health,” adds Morrell. “This will be rewarded with greater client satisfaction, results and retention.”
Preventing back pain
How many times has a client complained to you of back pain, looking to correct this as part of their training?
Once again, it pays to focus on the glutes, which are central to injury prevention and help to avoid and/or alleviate lower back pain.
According to Jethwa, “A strong and functional glute muscle helps control the knee and stabilise the trunk, which, in effect, means less pressure on your lower back and even the vertebrae of your lower back, preventing injuries such as disc hernias.
“Most typical movements are anterior chain dominated (front of body), so it’s massively important to work the posterior chain to balance it out. Much of the population suffers from hip flexor tightness, lower back pain, and/or IT band tightness, so having the correct glute activation work scheduled into your clients’ programmes is going to help ease all of those issues, now and as they get older.”
With a study by Rubin et al (2007) estimating that “15% to 20% of adults have back pain during a single year and 50% to 80% experience at least one episode of back pain during a lifetime,” becoming the go-to PT for back pain can certainly help you to attract and retain more clients.
Now, factor in that many people have been using less-than-ergonomic work-from-home desks during the pandemic, which may have either onset or exacerbated muscle aches and pains, and you’ve potentially got an even bigger audience of people who will need support in this area.
Increasing peak performance
Besides enhancing stability and mobility while reducing back pain and risk of injury, glute training also offers many advantages for athletic performance, as Alexander Hallafors, Founder and Director of Scandinavian Top Team, explains.
He said, “Glute training is fundamental when it comes to developing powerful athletes, and the Booty Builder is a really practical and safe way to maximise glute training. As a result, Booty Builder machines are becoming standard equipment in all the big performance centres and in the training programmes of elite-level athletes throughout the world.”
A former professional footballer in Sweden, turned elite personal trainer, Hallafors has coached world champion boxers, top-ranked UFC fighters, members of the Swedish national football team, and Stanley Cup-winning ice hockey players, to name but a few.
“I mostly work with athletes that need to be powerful horizontally, for example, sprinting, jumping forward, punching, kicking, and wrestling. Studies show that the hip thrust is better for horizontal power output than traditional exercises like squats, which has led to glute training becoming the most prioritised part of my clients’ programmes.”
He continues, “Usually, in the programme of an athlete, we start out with some glute activation exercises as a warm-up. After that, we go through the explosive part of the training which incorporates rubber bands etc as the load for different kinds of jumps. Jumping is all in the glutes. The next step is training their max strength. Here, we usually use the Booty Builder machine to perform a heavy hip thrust. Performing heavy hip thrusts with the Booty Builder machine is perfect for athletes due to the low risk of injury.”
By following Hallafor’s steps and getting clients to do glute activation exercises prior to performance, their butt muscles, which may have become tight throughout the day, will loosen up and start firing properly, at the right time. This is backed by research that has demonstrated the beneficial effects of a glute activation warm-up, with an increase in force production of the glutes and hamstrings (Parr, Price & Cleather, 2017) and acceleration performance (Barry, Kenny & Comyns, 2016).
So, whether you’re coaching in a gym or sporting setting, glute training can massively benefit one-rep max results, sprint speeds, vertical jumps, and even activities involving throwing or pushing, as force is typically generated through a kinetic chain that starts at the base of your feet and comes through your glutes and core. Peak performance awaits!
Bouncing back from the pandemic
Glute workouts are a great way to get your clients’ butts moving again – literally!
Recent research by office equipment firm, Fellowes, showed that 81% of British office workers spend between four and nine hours each day glued to their desks. Furthermore, a study commissioned by LinkedIn in partnership with The Mental Health Foundation discovered that people have been clocking up a staggering 28 hours of overtime per month while working from home during the pandemic.
Therefore, it’s not only imperative that we take the time to exercise, but also that we get those sedentary muscles moving again – and there’s no bigger muscle in the human body than the glutes.
“If you’re neglecting your glutes, which many people have been doing during the pandemic because of prolonged sitting and greater inactivity, you’re increasing your chances of injury and other issues further down the line,” says Jethwa. “So, glute workouts are an absolute must for everyone and a complete no-brainer for PTs when devising client programmes.
“The PTs that clock onto, and harness the power, of glute workouts will make an even bigger impact on their clients’ lives, creating a stronger and more engaged client base.”
Even before Covid-19, butt workouts were taking off, with exercisers from across the demographic spectrum all beginning to recognise the wide-ranging benefits.
Booty Builder, alone, reported an 800 per cent global growth in 2019 – demonstrating just how popular the butt workout has become.
With the growing awareness around the importance of activating the glutes, amplified by the pandemic, and the increasing demand from gym-goers and personal training clients to have access to the best equipment to achieve the ultimate glute activation, now is the time to make glute workouts central to your offering.
“There’s been a huge move towards people doing muscle-specific exercises to train the lower body,” says Morrell. “This shows that people no-longer want equipment that “does it all.” Instead, they seek the best-in-class equipment for that particular body part or muscle group. And this is being reflected right the way through the user groups, from younger to older exercises, men to women, and amateur to professional athletes.”
No matter if you’re setting up your own PT studio, looking to revamp your existing facility, or working for a gym that’s gearing up for a post-pandemic world, now is the perfect time to start investing in, and prioritising, these almighty muscles. The marketing signals are there, so let’s get those butts moving!