Trouble to activate my glutes

Everbybody and @JesseFortson ;
Having a re-discovered my old problems with badly tracking knees and not so stable hips I decided to check if I am using my glutes while training. I am not. Even doeing glute bridges I am mostly using hamstrings and back. Some years ago I had help from a PT with dry needling to get them started, but now I want to try for myself first.
I tried this excercise from the trainerroad blog, but I am not able to fire my glute independently. It seems like all the action is coming form my hamstrings. Where should I start to at least get to this excercise?

You have to get a physio involved with this I would say. There’s little point in trying to fire something if the underlying cause for weakness (or lack of muscle innervation) is not understood. I say this having trained as a physio and as someone who has just discovered that i have a CAM deformity (hip impingement) that has progressively got worse over the past few months and has ‘switched off’ my glutes.
Whilst isolating the glutes to fire independently is a start, you’ll need some help with getting them to fire with the supporting muscles that drive your pedal stroke. Good luck! Keep us posed on what you decide to do?

When people say “fire or activate your muscle” do they mean tense it? If not, I have no idea what it means.

If you can contract, or ‘tense’ the muscle, it has some neural ‘firing’ or activation, so yes. Broadly speaking, fired or activated can be described as tensed…
The problems occur when you can ‘tense’ those muscles in sitting, standing and in the gym, but you can’t get them to support a pedalling motion when you get into the saddle.


Hi! Thanks for the question and I have three ideas. First, as @DanMorris said, get a Physical Therapist involved and find one that has experience with cyclists. They will be able to help pinpoint what is keeping your glutes dormant. The second thing I would recommend would be to check out @Jonathan post. He has many great exercises for opening up the glutes.

The third thing is a simple one and worked for me (so N=1). I start by laying on my back, with my hands underneath my buttocks, then gently contract each side of my glutes about a dozen times. After that, I move to a chair and repeat the same process. Finally, I’ll get on the bike. My glutes only start firing once I get to around 75% of my threshold and I’ll press my finger onto my glute to make sure it’s active. Bike position/fit and how hard you are working will definitely affect the glutes.

Hope this helps!