Everyone admires a strong butt. You can’t deny that when you see someone walking down the street who fills their pants out on the backside, you think, man he/she must workout!
I know I do and that’s because it’s true.
Male or female, it’s quite clear that if you want a good looking backside, you have to work for it.
And working for it also means you need to WORK the actual glute muscles, specifically the big bad glute max (pretty sure there could be a song about that…).
But, all too often when doing things that are meant to help develop a strong backside: deadlifts, RDLs, pulls from various heights, an athlete will inevitably say, “I didn’t really feel that in my butt.”
Part of the problem is a misunderstanding of how the hinge should feel and that’s where one of my favorite unilateral variations for hinging can be a big bad activator.
Staggered Stance RDL
This variation tends to be much more effective than it’s walking variation (less dynamic) or balancing single leg version (less balance involved) for someone who struggles to get their glutes to fire on hinging patterns.
When an athlete is doing this, there are two big keys to focus on:
- The forward leg is doing an RDL, meaning the knee is soft, the shin stays vertical and the hip pushes back as far as possible without losing balance in the foot. That should result in a significant amount of tension in the hamstrings and glutes prior to standing back up. That tension should also be the driving force to get the body from a hinge position back to a standing position. When that is happening, the big bad glute max is ON!
- The big toe needs to be glued to the ground on that front foot. Far too often in this variation or any hinge, the weight shifts TOO far into the heel of the foot causing the toes to come off the ground. That is not effective nor powerful.
And if that doesn’t happen, the balance rolls towards the outside of the foot as the hinge occurs, which disengages the big toe from the floor and robs the body of power through the proper big bad glute max!
Add this variation into your warm up routine or your accessory work OR BOTH! When you get the glute max firing on all cylinders, your big hinge numbers (deadlift, RDLs) will go up and you will finally have the butt to prove it!