This is the second of four-part series called Why Seven—explaining why we train seven muscle groups and why you won’t see results if you skip one or two of them. Read Part I here.
Asses are in.
Unlike Back Day, which last week we told you not to skip, we have no problem convincing you to work your glutes. What we struggle with is getting you to understand why you’re doing it.
Yes, the peach emoji is fun to post on Instagram; and yes, it’s fun to write ass twenty-seven times in one blog post. But aesthetics are a benefit, not the core reason, why we burn out our glutes. Your ass is the biggest muscle in the body, yet most of us struggle getting it to fire correctly. In fact, some of you may go through an entire round on Ass Day before you feel it in your glutes.
Which—if you haven’t guessed already—isn’t supposed to happen.
Why We REALLY Do Ass Day: Balance, Aesthetics, and Function
Balance: We Wake Up The Ass So It Fires in Other Exercises
Think back to the last time you did a leg workout preceded by Ass Day (don’t think too hard, it happened this week). Just how badly did your glutes burn while pushing that sled?
That’s how it should feel every.single.leg.workout. Our goal is for you to feel your glutes during Leg and Hammy Day—not just on Ass Day.
“One of the biggest issues we see in athletes is being quad dominant,” explains Chris, “If your quads take over on your heaviest exercises [like squats] that’s putting all the force on the front part of your body.” You need the back part of your body—your glutes and hamstrings—to counterbalance that force.
We sit on our ass all damn day, which means we don’t use it. Glute activation helps wake your ass up so you can actually use it in a lower body workout. If your butt doesn’t fire, you will only use your quads and hammys, which could lead to knee pain and other injuries over time.
PS: Not sure how to activate your ass? Lauren O’Shea shows you how in this post.
Function: Your Ass Gives You Power and Balance
Your butt is a gigantic muscle, and that muscle has to fire in order for you to be fast, explosive, and stable. If you’re constantly falling over in TRX Bulgarian split squats, your abductors (your glute minimus and glute medius) might not be doing their job, which is to stabilize you.
That combination—power and balance—is what allows you to sprint and jump through Heart Day. But if your butt doesn’t fire, your quads, hammys, and core will be forced to absorb those high-impact movements instead. As those three muscle groups work in overdrive, it manifests in other injuries throughout your body, namely your knees, hips, and low back.
Through Ass Day, we are trying to teach your glutes endurance—to outlast your quads and hamstrings. Ideally, your ass should be the first thing you feel during a lower body workout, not the last.
Aesthetics: Your Ass Won’t Grow if It’s Not Activated
Quick question: If your ass isn’t firing, how do you expect it to grow?
If you want to build any muscle—not just your ass—you have to do three things: activate, strengthen, and overload. In other words, you have to wake that muscle up (letting it know it’s time to do work), then strike a balance between strength and endurance exercises.
Chris and Katie will handle the programming, but keep the following things in mind:
- Activate your glutes, but don’t forget to progress those activation exercises. Just as 20 lb dumbbells once challenged you but eventually you bumped up to 30s, there will come a point when clamshells no longer activate your ass. Progress these exercises just as you would any other movement, and if you don’t know how you can once again thank Lauren O’Shea.
- To strengthen your ass, you can’t skip Hammy or Leg Day. Once your ass learns to fire, you need to overload that muscle to strengthen it. Supplement with Legs and Hammy Days to get the volume required to make those glutes grow.
Your Ass Isn’t There *Just to Look Good, It Exists To Strengthen Your Entire Body
If you take anything away from this post, it’s this: The muscle printed on the schedule is the muscle you should feel during class. Read that sentence one more time.
On Ass Day, the goal is for you to actually feel your ass during each exercise. We don’t give a flying f/ck if you can lift three sandbags on a hip thrust—we care that you actually feel your glutes working through the movement.
You should feel your butt in squats, walking lunges, and lateral step-ups; which could require some work getting that ass to wake-up. On Ass Day, our focus is to activate our glutes first so we know how to recruit them in other heavy, lower body exercises, which then helps grow your peach.