To truly develop the athlete, proper muscle loading is essential. In this post we will examine glute vs quad loading. It is fairly easy to figure out which your player is doing, but a little bit harder of a fix. It takes a decent amount of awareness and focus from your player. They’re going to have to learn how to consciously recruit their glutes, rather than just doing a squat, and letting whatever muscles want to work the hardest take over.
Same as before, have your player squat as they naturally would (body weight squat). Have them do more than they normally would, between 30-40. Ask them which muscle is tired, if none are tired yet, ask them which one would be tired if you made them do 100 more. If the answer is their glutes, you’re done! You can quit reading and scroll through your twitter for a little while instead. If they answered quads, looks like you’re stuck with me a little bit longer!
As previously mentioned, glutes should be the primary lower body accelerator, decelerator and stabilizer. It is so crucial that players learn how to recruit their glutes. If they can properly use this muscle, the likelihood of them being able to jump higher, move faster, and avoid injury will greatly increase.
Make sure you’ve fixed any knee loading before moving on. The fix may be that simple, have them hip load and bam! all of the sudden glutes are turned on, problem solved.
If they are hip loading but still using their quads more, we are going to have to take a step back. Squats are a fairly complicated exercise, so we will do a simpler one, and have the player get used to recruiting their glute in that exercise. When they have that down, we will move back to squats.
Have your player get down on the floor. We are going to do a glute bridge. As they bridge up, ensure that they feel their glutes turning on to do that movement. Sometimes it helps to have them put their hands on their glutes, so that their brain has an extra cue for which muscle to turn on. Do 3 sets of 12. Constantly checking in to make sure they haven’t got distracted and fallen out of their glutes. It going to take some concentration on their part. Get them comfortable with exercise.
After 3 sets have them hop up and try their squat. Do they feel a difference? If not have them get back down in the bridge and do another set before having them try squats again. If they got it, great! However, just because they’ve corrected it for now does not mean that its engrained yet. Stay on top it. Make sure you are asking where they feel it. If in a couple days they’ve lost it and they’re feeling it in their quads again, take them back down to the bridge so that they get used to using their glutes again.
Like hip loading, repetition is important, so that it can become automatic. Once they can recruit their largest lower body muscle properly, you can start working harder on their speed, jumping and stability. This is where you should start see significant improvement.
Off-Season Conditioning Series
NEXT: Squats Part 3