It's one of the largest muscles in the human body, but it's often neglected during strength-training workouts. Kurt Hester, national director of training for D1 Sports Training, says, "You have so much dormant power in your glutes that most athletes never use, because they never do any exercises that activate the glute by itself."
Failing to perform exercises that isolate the glute muscle can lead to shortcomings in speed development. Many athletes are quad dominant from performing countless sets of leg extensions.
"Most athletes don't activate their glutes when they sprint," Hester says. "The more you can get your glutes to fire when you sprint allows you to put a lot more force into the ground."
So step away from the leg curl machine and try the Barbell Hip Thrust, a super-charged exercise that activates the glutes to help you unleash blazing speed.
In the images below, high-powered QB Tim Tebow is building his glute muscles by performing the Single-Leg Hip Thrust, the most advanced variation of the exercise. Start on the floor with the Double-Leg Hip Thruster, and don't feel obligated to load the barbell with heavy weight. Progress to the Double-Leg Hip Thruster on the bench. "The range of motion is greater on the bench," Hester advises.
Once you've mastered the two-leg variations, it's Tebow time with the Single-Leg Hip Thruster on the bench.
Barbell Hip Thruster
- Lie on ground with barbell across hips
- Squeeze glutes and extend hips toward ceiling
- Hold top position for one count and return to start position
- Repeat for specified reps
Sets/Reps: 3x12 [each leg for Single-Leg variation]
Coaching Points: Place pad on barbell // Extend hips as high as possible // Keep feet flat on ground // For Single-Leg variation, extend non-working leg straight ahead
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock