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Workouts To Target Your Glutes And Core Concurrently For A Dual-Purpose Training Session

Many individuals perceive their lives as a tightly packed, intricately orchestrated juggling act of managing an excess of obligations in modern times. When it pertains to exercising, the time we have available is often limited; managing to squeeze in just 20 minutes a day for physical activity can be considered a triumph.

Therefore, if your aim is to optimize your workout duration for maximum effectiveness, it might be shrewd to concentrate on exercises that engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, providing you with an efficient means to fortify your physique. An added benefit is that by working various muscle groups concurrently, these exercises closely replicate how we utilize our muscles in day-to-day activities, hence they are known as “functional training.”

Two of the most crucial regions to fortify are the core and glutes. Together, these two primary muscle groups constitute a substantial portion of the entire midsection, furnishing a solid foundation for the limbs to ensure optimal movement efficiency.

What is the significance of strengthening the core and glutes?

The importance of core strength is frequently emphasized, yet many individuals are not entirely clear on what the core encompasses. Often, many equate it with merely the “abs.” However, the core delineates all the muscles in the trunk from a 360-degree perspective, including:

  • Diaphragm 
  • Rectus abdominis (the “six-pack” muscles) 
  • Internal and external obliques (situated on the sides of the trunk)
  • Transverse abdominis (a profound core muscle crucial for stability)
  • Psoas major and minor (muscles linking the spine and pelvis to the hip)
  • Erector spinae (muscles extending the spine)
  • Pelvic floor muscles 
  • Glutes 

Gene Schafer, a certified strength & conditioning specialist from NSCA and the proprietor of ARC Athletics in New York City, asserts that the core serves as the principal anchorage for the body. “These muscles aid in maintaining stability as we navigate through space with our limbs,” he elucidates. “When I’m in New York and riding the subway, I notice that my core muscles engage to keep me steady when the train halts abruptly.”

Although the glutes are technically part of the core, their significance is so paramount that they warrant specialized attention. Schafer contends that neglecting the activation of the glutes can contribute to persistent low back discomfort. Reinforcing them is pivotal not only for athletic performance but also for daily functionality.

“Frequently, I have encountered clients and athletes experiencing generalized low back discomfort, and their symptoms alleviate when they concentrate on strengthening their glutes,” he discloses. “Performing a simple action like engaging your glutes while standing may alleviate strain on your lower back, thereby reducing back fatigue and discomfort.”

4 prime exercises that engage the core and glutes concurrently 

Pallof press

This exercise focuses on anti-rotational movements, training your core to act as a sturdy anchor while your arms are in motion. You can amplify the difficulty by opting for a thicker resistance band.

  1. Fasten a resistance band to a pole or another stationary structure. You can execute the exercise while kneeling or standing, but ensure the band is held just in front of your chest with elbows bent, and your body perpendicular to the anchorage point of the band. Position yourself far enough away from the anchor point to ensure adequate tension on the band.
  2. By bracing your core and glutes, extend your arms by pushing them outward from your chest against the band’s tension. 
  3. Sustain the extended position for a complete breath cycle before retracting.
  4. Complete two to three sets comprising 15 to 20 repetitions each.

Plank with leg extension

Planks rank among the finest exercises to fortify your core. By incorporating the single-leg raise, you’ll further engage your glutes. For an added challenge, you can introduce a small loop resistance band around your ankles.

  1. Assume a forearm plank posture. Activate your glutes and engage your abs by pulling your navel toward your spine. Maintain your body in a straight alignment from head to heels. Inhale and exhale steadily.
  2. While upholding correct posture, elevate your right leg straight upward about four to six inches above the floor without bending the knee.
  3. Return to the initial position with control.
  4. Execute 15 deliberate repetitions, then switch to the opposite side.

Marching bridge

Schafer advocates for this exercise as it effectively targets the core and glutes: Pressing the heel into the ground activates the glutes, while preventing the hips from sagging sideways works the core.

  1. Position your head and shoulders atop the curved surface of a BOSU ball, with your hips elevated, knees bent at a 90-degree angle, and feet planted firmly on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest.
  2. Inhale deeply, engage your core and glutes to raise one knee, then lower it.
  3. Alternate between sides, simulating a marching motion for 30-45 seconds.

Bird dog

As per Schafer, “Bird dog is a fantastic method to actively involve the glutes with hip extension, while the core muscles ensure stability as you extend your limbs away from your body.”

  1. Adopt a tabletop stance by kneeling on all fours with a flat back and wrists positioned beneath your shoulders. 
  2. Activate your abs, maintaining neutral alignment of your neck and spine. 
  3. Simultaneously extend your right arm and left leg away from the midline of your body, upholding steady equilibrium. Your arm should be extended forward and your leg straight backward, parallel to the ground. 
  4. Retain the position momentarily before returning. 
  5. Alternate between both sides. Alternate sides until you have completed a total of 30 repetitions.

Schafer recommends performing these exercises two to three times weekly. Remember to proceed at a moderate pace, concentrate on your form, and perceive your muscles harmoniously collaborating for not only a more efficient workout but also a more potent and practical one.

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