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Learn How to Properly Engage Your Glutes During These Key Exercises

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Photo: Instagram @katiecrewe

Fitness isn't always pretty. Between awkward sore-leg waddling, ripped-open calluses, and early morning (read: bed face) workouts, there are plenty of gritty moments in everyone's fitness routine. The image of fitness presented on Instagram, however, is pretty glam. 

That's why one nutrition and fitness coach is using her Instagram to point out a v important lesson: Sometimes, doing an exercise correctly means not looking "good" while you're doing it. Specifically, the fact that your butt should look kinda weird when you squeeze it.

Related: This Blogger Is Showing How Much Squeezing Your Butt Can Change Its Appearance

"Not every exercise is flattering and sometimes they're straight-up unflattering, but doing it properly will not only yield better results but it will keep your body safer," wrote Katie Crewe, C.S.C.S., nutritional practitioner and health coach, on her Instagram. "I know a lot of people use videos on here as form demonstration, so I wanted to address some pretty common errors I see."

In the video, she demonstrated four moves that really require you to engage your core and activate your glutes—putting your spine in a neutral alignment vs. an anterior pelvic tilt (which you may recognize visually as a "booty pop").

Related: 5 Reasons It's Important to Have a Strong Butt—Besides Looking Good

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

WHY LIFTING ISN’T ALWAYS FLATTERING. Sorry for yelling . This post is dedicated to all of the dudes who ask where my butt has gone when I’m doing certain exercises (thanks for the inspiration). Apparently the pruny squeezed dimple butt aesthetic isn’t yet a thing? Please note I said “yet” . - Not every exercise is flattering and sometimes they’re straight up unflattering but doing it properly will not only yield better results but it will keep your body safer. While it may not be as pleasing to your eyes, it’s much more pleasing to my spine to lift with proper positioning #ok? #ok! I’m not over here trying to break my back in an overhead press. - I know a lot of people use videos on here as form demonstration so I wanted to address some pretty common errors I see. It’s ok to not look great all the time in the name of core engagement and activated glutes . - When doing these exercises, you want to make sure that you’re creating a stiff, stable core to get stronger and protect your spine. For glute exercises, I promise you you’ll see better results if you actually use your glutes . While the glute squeeze is not necessary for all exercises, for the ones where it is appropriate, your glutes straight up won’t contract properly when you’re in anterior pelvic tilt. - This is also a safety issue, especially when you start using heavier loads. My lower back was hurting just doing a couple reps of some of these with sub-maximal weight. - In conclusion, please do not fear a temporarily wider core and a squeezed butt. Learning proper form and not ingraining bad habits will serve you much better in the long term . - Calvo & TAI - Sky Racer

A post shared by Katie Crewe (@katiecrewe) on

When doing these exercises—the kettlebell Romanian deadlift, push-up, overhead press, and leg lifts—you want to make sure you're "creating a stiff, stable core to get stronger and protect your spine," she says. "For glute exercises, I promise you you'll see better results if you actually use your glutes. While the glute squeeze is not necessary for all exercises, for those where it's appropriate, your glutes straight-up won't contract properly when you're in an anterior pelvic tilt." Translation: If you're trying to maintain a "booty pop" (à la many fitness Instagrammers) while you're doing these moves (and, honestly, many others), you're not going to reap the rewards—and could also do some damage.

And if you've ever thought about lifting heavy, you definitely need to get this specific form tweak down pat first, or else you're putting yourself at risk for a serious injury: "My lower back was hurting just doing a couple reps of some of these with sub-maximal weight," writes Crewe. (FYI: Don't go crazy over-squeezing your glutes and hyperextending your back, because that can be dangerous too.) 

"Learning proper form and not ingraining bad habits will serve you much better in the long term," she says—even if your butt doesn't look like a peach emoji the whole time.

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