Those who have tried cycling usually work on their hamstrings and quadriceps for them to pedal faster and more efficiently but although these muscle groups do play important roles, the muscles in your hips also require attention from you.
Since most of us are often sitting on your butt for hours on end at work and at home, the glutes tend to become idle or in sleep mode hence they do not function at their best. When this happens, the other muscle groups like your lumbar extensors and hamstrings take over the work of the glutes which is hip extension. The only problem is that these muscles aren’t designed for this kind of movement because they are mainly here to support the glutes. What happens is that you experience low back pain, knee pain, and even hip pain.
If you want to activate your gluteal muscles, here are some examples of workouts that you should do.
- Single leg hip-lift. Start this exercise by lying on the floor with legs bent. Lift your left foot off the floor. Raise your hips up while engaging your glutes. The toes of your left foot should be pointing upwards. Hold the pose on the top for two seconds before lowering hips back to the floor. Do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps for each side.
- For this exercise, you will need to lie down on your back on the floor with knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Lift your butt off the floor by pushing down on your feet until you create a bridge with your knee, hips, and shoulders. Make sure that these three form a straight line. Engage your gluteal muscles to keep this pose for 2 seconds before going back to first position. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
- 4-Way Mini-band. Place your mini band around the ankles then stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. While keeping your legs straight (the goal here is to move from the hips) and toes pointed forward, walk forward 10 steps then back 10 steps. Take a short rest then walk 10 steps to the right and 10 steps to the left. Your toes should still be pointing forward and that your legs are straight.
- Straight leg raise. Lie down on the floor on your back with your left leg extended and your right leg bent at the knee. Your left toes should be pointing toward the ceiling. Lift your left leg up to 45 degrees without bending at the knee. Hold this pose for 2 seconds before bringing it back down. Repeat this exercise 10 times before switching legs.
- Resistance band hip extension. Stand behind a chair or bench with a resistance band looped around your ankle. Keep your knee and back straight, bring the leg with the resistance band around the ankle backwards while engaging your gluteal muscles. Do 3 sets of 10 reps and make sure that you bring your leg backwards as far as you can without causing you any pain.