Client Homework For Glutes

The Radiological Society of North America has recently called attention to the permanent bone loss in teenagers who are obese (1). The growth in reliance on fast food is putting teens on the fast track to obesity (2). Personal Trainers can help this population with appropriate action steps. Here is programing you can use with all your clients, scaling it to a specific population who needs us most right now.

 Example Training Program 

Basic Movement Patterns  

Lets talk basic movement patterns. Sure, you can have a client who is obese expend calories by walking, biking, elliptical-ing, and machining. Are these the most optimal training methods to reduce the orthopedic stress on the client’s already taxed joints? Will they improve his/her posture to prevent pain and prolong adherence to your program? Will they improve his/her balance and coordination to prevent falls and injuries that often cause people further set backs in fitness and health? Maybe not to the extent that some basic activation of the glute max and glute medius though hip extension and hip abduction will.

Exercise #1 – Glute Max Activation

Our glute max is what keeps us upright. It’s what stabilizes our pelvis and vertebra. You can read more about the glute max in a post by Bev Hosford here. Most of us in America have a weak glute max from what is now being called the new smoking – sitting. A weak glute max contributes to low back and hip pain, not to mention couch butt. Hip extension exercises such as the glute bridges you see above can help activate the glute max and help prevent these issues while also providing your client with the cardiovascular training they need.

How to Scale for Clients who are Obese 

Contraindications for Clients who are Obese 

  • Prone or Supine should be avoided. These individuals are prone to hypertension and hypotension
  • No holding of the breath
  • No tight grip
  • Screen for comorbidities (two chronic diseases)
  • Exercises should be performed in standing or seated position decrease orthopedic stress
  • Ensure you have a medical release from the doctor to begin exercise


Special Considerations for Clients who are Obese 

  • Work closely with a Registered Dietician (RD)
  • Focus on energy expenditure
  • Use balance training
  • Assess GAIT mechanics
  • Use core and balance training
  • Keep track of Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Record Circumference every week
  • Talk test
  • Use Self Myofascial Release with Caution, may need avoided or performed at home where comfortable.


Exercise #2 – Glute Medius Activation 

Our glute medius is what keeps our knees from knocking. You can read more about the glute medius in a post by Bev here. I activate this muscle by tube walking with resistance bands. This exercise might be a lot of orthopedic stress on a client who is carrying 30+ extra pounds. How would you scale hip abduction for a client who is obese? Write out your ideas in the format below and post it here on our Facebook. We look forward to seeing your genius maneuvering and how we can collaborate to best help this oh so deserving population.

Your Ideas Here

Get a Full Program to Use!

For a full one-day training program fit for a teenage client who is obese, share this post, tag two friends, NFPT and comment on why helping those who are obese is important to you. One of our trainers will post a full training program within 48 hours and tag you and your friends!



About the Author: Stephanie Lane

Stephanie Lane is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer & Corrective Exercise Specialist with 10 years of experience. She is a former U.S. Marine from Kansas City, Missouri and brings a can-do attitude to fitness and health. Stephanie has published a Meal Plan Recipe book which is currently under review for a second edition. She coaches clients online and in her business – G.I. Lane where food, fitness and flexibility are priority. Stephanie believes optimal health & fitness should be affordable, obtainable and effective for every individual and works hard to break barriers between people and their fitness. Visit to learn more.

Related Posts

Glute activation exercises are something that I include in almost every one of my sessions with my personal training clients. I wasn’t surprised to discover when I started working with my trainer that she was on board the glute activation train too. We do a lot of it in our sessions.

You might be wondering…what is glute activation and why is it so important?

Your glutes are the biggest muscle in your body and they have a play a few important roles. Proper movement of the hip comes from the glutes. Your glutes are responsible for hip extension, hip abduction and internal and external rotation of the hip joint. In my book, Ultimate Plank Fitness, I consider the glutes part of the overall core makeup along with a group of other muscles that all work together to build the “trunk of your tree.”

Unfortunately in today’s sitting culture, weak glutes that have lost their ability to fire correctly have become a widespread problem. When this happens you are prone to experiencing low back pain, hamstring injuries, knee pain and more.

Glute activation exercises specifically target the muscles that make up the glute and both strengthen them and train them to fire correctly.

How should you work glute activation into your routine? 

It’s easy! You can do it at home or at the gym. All you need for my five favorite exercises is a mini resistance band and about 10 minutes. First, let’s talk about the mini bands. I love these from Perform Better. They are available on Amazon Prime and are only $14.95 for a set of four in varying resistance levels.

Do these exercises 3-4 times a week on their own or add them into your workout routine. I’ll either warm up with them or add a set of them in before I squat or deadlift to make sure that my glutes are awake and firing before going into the movement so I can get the most out of it.

For my runners, I can’t stress the importance of you adding some of these to your pre-run routine. Especially before you go out for a run after you’ve been sitting all day long!

The 5 Best Mini Band Exercises for Glute Activation.

I’ve put together a photo and description along with a video demo of each exercise.

ALL HAIL THE SIDE SHUFFLE! I have been doing these with my clients for years (they don’t even ask anymore, they just put a band on after they finish warming up) but my trainer introduced me to the two-step sidestep (versus taking like 10-15 steps one way and 10-15 the other). With the two step you’re able to stay more equally fired in both glutes throughout. I also love that they work in the frontal plane, something that isn’t incorporated enough in our training routines. If you only have time to add one of these exercises to your routine, do a set of these before a run or before you squat or deadlift.

Form cues: 

  • Position mini band above the ankles
  • Slightly bend the knees
  • Draw in the belly and engage the abs
  • Place feet hips distance apart
  • Take two steps to the right while keeping good tension in the band (never step the feet together to touch) and then take two steps to the left
  • Do this for 45 seconds or 20 steps total (each two-step in a direction counts as one)

The glute activation squat is just an air squat with a mini band above the knees.

Form cues:

  • Position mini band above the knees
  • Place feet slightly wider than the hips (just a tad)
  • Sit butt back like you were sitting down in a chair and keep your chest lifted and abs engaged
  • Push out on the band the entire time and never let knees cave in
  • Squeeze glutes to stand
  • Repeat 20 times

The monster walk is a little funky to master but I like it, especially because it moves forward and backward.

Form cues:

  • Position mini band above ankles
  • Slightly bend the knees
  • Take six steps forward, with each step you will make a semi-circle with the foot by drawing it in and then back out again (watch the video)
  • Take six steps back, reversing the movement
  • Perform 5 sets (up and back = 1)

Bridge is another one of my top exercises that I would add to your core training. They are so beneficial for so many reasons but we’ll focus on the band exercise for today.

Form cues: 

  • Position mini band above the knees
  • Lay down on your back and bend your knees so that the heels are directly under the glutes
  • Place your hands by your sides, palms down
  • Press into the palms and lift your hips, lower back down
  • Keep pressing out with the knees the entire time (up and down) and never let that tension off the band
  • Repeat 20 times and hold the last one up for a 10 count

Don’t laugh at the clamshell. It’s super legit when it comes to adding a mini band to the movement. All of my clients look at me with bewildered eyes when I make them do these. They don’t understand how it can burn so badly!

Form cues: 

  • Position mini band above the knees
  • Lay on your side with knees bent and stacked
  • Support the head with the hand and place the opposite hand on the hip/glute that is working.
  • Lift the top knee away from the bottom and lower it back down. Keep feet together as you do this.
  • Use the hand that’s on the hip/glute as a reminder of what you’re working and what you’re engaging
  • Perform 20 on each side.

So there’s your crash course on glute activation. DO IT! As always, let me know if you have questions or feedback.

Do you include glute activation into your workout routine? 

Like this:



0 Replies to “Client Homework For Glutes”

Lascia un Commento

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *