Glute activation

Interesting article some may find useful


When you get it right for the first time, you will feel a little ‘pain’ coming from your Glute Meds.

I’ve been doing some of these tips, esp. flat-footed through the bottom of the pedal stroke, for a couple of weeks and my GM has been killing me up until the last couple of days. I’d say it’s more due to hip imbalance than proper glute firing but it seems to be working…?

I’ve independently come up with same set of exercises, do most of those 3-5 days a week although squats and deadlifts with 10lb dumbbells at home. I’ve been working from home for 20 years, and all the sitting resulted in weak glutes and knee issues. Last year I started remediating by focusing on both anterior and posterior chains. Huge difference, in my late 50s and feel like I’m in my early 30s now. Still have a way to go on building up to doing actual strength training using deadlifts in the gym.

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Try rowing. My glutes have def got a lot stronger since I got a Concept 2 and anecdotally I believe it’s helping my riding.

I am also interested in recruiting my glutes to improve my cadence and power. Does @chad have any workouts that address glute recruitment?

These videos are pretty good…


OK so I’ve now seen 2 completely contradictory sources on this.

The link in the OP says “Rotate the hips forward (stick your butt slightly back). Not only does this help flatten your back but helps to get the glutes to fire”

Whereas this video says that in order to activate glutes, you have to “rock your hips underneath you” (see 00:57).

So who’s right?

I’d say Mark Allen is more right. Just cuz I think he won something once. :wink:

I’ve got a bike fit tomorrow so I’ll get a third opinion then.

But my opinion is increasingly that “glutes” might be the physiological equivalent of “protein”. Yes they’re important, but everyone gets a bit crazy and starts buying into anything that promises 50 watts if you just subscribe to their YouTube channel or go for a bike fit etc.

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Build core strength to maintain lumbar curve and posture to get max glute action. Most cyclists are limited by shitty posture.

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According to the bike fitter I just had an appointment with, Mark Allen is wrong. Rotating hips forward is the way to go.

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Same response: Coach (ex-pro) says Allen wrong. Tip/roll pelvis down/under, flattens back and allows glutes to fire. Try it and you will feel it and you can watch the power changes.

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May I ask what type of exercises you found most helpful?

This is an interesting thread - I have been trying to find a solution to a chronic low-grade ache in my piriformis muscle which I had since last August. I tried physio and massage without much improvement. It hasn’t been a performance limiter but I would like a solution. Maybe glute exercises will help.

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The sciatic nerve passes under the p-muscle so it may not actually be a muscle issue but a nerve issue.

I have a crappy lower back esp when doing a lot of bike time and found a mix of occasional chiro and frequent yoga/stretching keep the lower back and hips functioning pretty well.

Does any of this ring a bell? Piriformis Syndrome

I started with this program and modified as necessary:

I dropped leg curls and leg extensions. Added seated cable row, T bar rows, and face pulls. Had to work on glute strength / activation for 9 months before starting deadlifts and squats this month. I had rotator cuff surgery 5+ years ago and I started working on those as well.

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I’m a nobody but I’ve learned from making every mistake in the book, twice. To activate glutes:

  • Do strength training in the gym 1st.

  • To tip pelvis fwd on the bike scootch back a cm or two on the saddle. Then picture a 20 pound weight hanging from your belly button pulling it down towards the top tube. Your low back will feel arched or neutral as you roll the top of the pelvis while keeping the chamois in the same spot in the saddle.

  • Sit firm in the saddle helps but I don’t know why nor can I explain it further…


You can also practice this technique walking up stairs. It’s a very noticeable shift from quads to glutes.


I’ve read Jay Dicharry’s book “Running Rewired”, one of the movements he talks about is acting like you’re pushing a shopping cart. You can tell when you move from heavy quad gait to glutes quickly.

I just realized that maybe the reason I’m having trouble with glute activation position is because I’m trying to figure out how to do something that I’m already doing. :man_facepalming:

Sign says TrainerRoad, not GeniusRoad!


And it’s worth noting that the right saddle here can be key. With my previous saddle (Fizik Arione), if I tipped my pelvis forward, it unweighted my sit bones and put way too much pressure on my perineum.

Early days yet (fit was only yesterday), but my new saddle has a bit more of an upwards curve that naturally tips me forward and means that I still have support for my sit bones even in that more aggressive position.

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For sure. Saddle height as well but, this all assumes the rider is on top of these things. It’s a very subtle move. It’s easy to exaggerate too much especially with guys like me suggesting 20lbs belly button piercings.

Anyone still reading this and still confused it’s all just good posture. Think slouching while sitting at the computer. Now sit up straight and correct the slouching by putting a little more sway in the low back. Same thing on the bike. Chances are you are already doing it. Again this is very easy to overdo IMO.