As a powerlifter, I am most concerned about lifting the maximum weight possible. I am also assuming that applies to many of you also. As most of you are aware, the Squat is primarily a Quadriceps exercise so where do the Glutes come into building a bigger Squat ….
When squatting out from the bottom of the squat movement (The Hole) the knees and hips are placed into extension as we drive upwards out of the hole. The Quadriceps provide most of the driving power needed to extend the knees but what about the hips.
There are several muscles used as part of hip extension including the Hamstring and the Gluteus Maximus. However, the Hamstrings are a bi-articulate muscle which not only extend the hips but also flexes the knees, which means that when we are squatting, extra strong hamstrings can be detrimental to a big squat as they fight against the Quadriceps which are extending the knees. So when it comes to hip extension more focus needs to be placed on the largest hip extensor which is the Gluteus Maximus.
So how do we put more emphasis on the Glutes rather than the Hamstrings? A more upright torso position will move the emphasis of the lift to even more Quad and Glute activation and less forward lean will minimising hamstring activation. It makes no difference if you are squatting high bar or low bar.
What Assistance exercises can help build a strong Gluteus Maximus ?
The following exercises are great options to assist with building strength in the Glutes and help push through to new PBs in squat.
Rear Lunge – can be done with dumbbell or barbell
Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
Banded Kneeling Squats (Stallions)