Weight Shifting for the Glutes

What do you think about the value of cueing wt back on heels during bridges and 1 leg exercises to enhance glut activation?

Certainly accessing the posterior chain is referenced with a posterior weight shift.  Through the heels is the common concept.  Pushing through the heels through the floor is the tried and true verbal cue for upright level changes like squats, DLs, and the like.

It should also be conventional that you shouldn’t go too far back onto the heels, but I know even in myself, I will sometimes feel my toes coming off a little bit as I sit back into a squat.

Also in the upright positions, the lunge particularly, it seems like there is often success in guiding the posterior weight shift with the toes elevated.  We also see this as part of the 2×6 Toe Touch patterning “trick” to elicit a posterior weight shift.

I like toes up in certain situations, but it is not plan A.  I think there should be a natural balance towards posterior, but not necessarily a volitional posterior weight shift.  I would consider something like heels up in the bridge as a high threshold strategy.  The natural static posture should be marked with a posterior weight shift, but it isn’t intentional.
Think of heel walking.  It is useful in clearing myotome L3 and L4, but the pattern is completely erroneous.  I want the intended feedback from the short foot to feed the glutes, not the full volitional weight shift.
There are times and reasons to exaggerate the posterior weight shift and mandate the heel pressure to elicit glute activation.  But in terms of anything when the chain is closed through the feet, I am looking for short foot.  I would rather facilitate that via a valgus RNT at the knees or WBV.
If these options still don’t work, or if hamstring dominate in the bridge technique, then the high threshold can be useful to create awareness of the glutes.
  • September 12, 2010

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Ted Levinson Reply

Hi, Charlie. I am relatively new to the field of personal training, but was fortunate enough t be directed toward your site by a mentor of mine. Hopefully my questions don;t comes across as too absurd or make me look even more green than I actually am………..but if they do, I apologize in advance.

When you speak of “short foot,” would this feel like gripping the floor with the foot (but without actually gripping with the toes in a manner that causes the arch height to be exaggerated. When I have my foot flat on the floor and “squeeze” while focusing on not altering my arch, I notice that my foot appears to contract and shorten without any exaggerated curling/flexion of the toes and with no change to my arch…………..is this what is meant by short foot or am I way off the mark?

As far as the things like the glute bridge, I was (apparently mistakenly so) taught to cue clients to lift their toes up (so you’d end up with the balls of the feet and the heels in contact with the ground) and press through their heels during exercise performance. Unless I have poorly comprehended this post, I now gather that the intent should be to drive through the heels on certain movements but doing so while not volitionally manipulating the foot in any way (as with lifting up the toes) and without overly focusing on driving through the heels to the point where it is highly exaggerated. Essentially, exaggerating a posterior weight shift and things like lifting up the toes to increase the focus on driving through the heels is best reserved for very particular situations that require regressing things, and even this would only be after exploring other avenues that you mentioned. Is this correct?

Thank you again for suffering this fool gladly and for playing a part in helping me to become a bit better than I was yesterday / a bit less of a jamoke in the gym.

Charlie Reply

Ted – Sounds like you understand the message very clearly.

I think the toes up should be reserved for when someone just can’t get it right.

The issue with the toes in the air is less “wrong,” and more just not as good as you can get it. When the big toe is contact with the floor, I believe there sensory input yields a more appropriate posterior chain contraction because the brain believes it will propel the body forward. It is kinda like a garbled or confusing message when the toes does send any feedback up the chain.

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