Gluteal amnesia is a real thing and no – it's not about forgetting how big one's posterior actually is. Many working professionals spend the bulk of their time seated in an office chair. Due to the padded nature of such chairs, most people tend to just sink into them in a bid to achieve the most comfortable position possible. Combined with the act of prolonged sitting, this can lead to the glutes basically being “forgotten” by the body, hence the “amnesia”.
The glutes are the largest muscle in the human body and play a vital role in determining health hip function. Poor activation of the glutes can cause problems ranging from the everyday (e.g. posture) to the athletic (e.g. force production). Putting it into the context of your regular gym-goer, having non-firing glutes can affect training movements like the squat on the grounds of stability.
A good warm-up should always be able to address such concerns and employing a dynamic sequence of movements is one of the best ways to prep the glutes for a hard training session. One such movement is the banded side walk. Using only a mini resistance band, the lateral band walk forces the activation of the glutes through the use of joint distraction and be scaled to three levels of difficulty.
Location and equipment courtesy of TripleFit
The basic introduction to lateral band walks starts with the band being looped around the area of your thigh right above your knee joint. After that, take a hip stance that creates just a slight amount of tension in the band (somewhere around shoulder width should do the trick). Proceed to perform a small hip hinge, keeping a natural arch in your lower back and your shins perpendicular to the ground. You knees should also be pointing forward and slightly outwards. This starting position alone should put a perceptible amount of tension on your glutes for the purpose of maintaining such a posture. Continue by side-stepping in one direction for a number of steps before pausing and going back the way you came.
Trainees new to this movement can get plenty of benefits by performing the movement at this level (Level 1). However, it can be scaled should a higher level of difficulty be required or desired. A Level 2 progression will see the band being looped around the shins, and a Level 3 progression will require the band to be looped around the mid-foot, past the ankle joint around where the arch would be. As you become more experienced, you may choose to utilise a ladder system of progression (i.e. performing one set of Levels 1, 2 and 3 sequentially) or just go on to employing straight sets at a specific level.
The lateral band walk can also be utilised as a low-intensity superset pairing for exercises with a glute-focus. One good example would be hip thrusts superset with a set of lateral band walk walks. A good starting repetition count would be 10 and can go up to as high as 20. If you don't have access to a mini band, a light resistance band of regular length looped over twice will do just fine. One thing you'll learn with this movement is that you don't need a whole lot of tension to get your muscles feeling pumped!