Can an ‘activation warm-up’ for your glutes activate these muscles more in major exercises like the Squat and (Romanian) deadlift?
Research shows it’s probably not helping much.
Parr and colleagues (2017) had 17 rugby players perform side and prone planks while doing hip extensions and some one-leg squats to activate the glutes.
One minute after, they did a set of High hang pulls, a sort of explosive Romanian deadlift.
The ones who did the glute activation warm-up showed less glute activation during the High hang pulls.
An open Master’s paper from Nadel (2013) supports this:
Doing 3 sets of monster walk side steps with a mini-band didn’t increase activity of the glute medius (the side part) in the hip extension and abduction exercises thereafter.
Don’t get me wrong: actual band exercises definitely have benefits. For instance, banded bulgarian split squats and Romanian deadlifts are superb.
However, if you perform glute activation exercises to make your glutes work more in exercises like squats and deadlifts to get more glute gains: the science shows it’s not helping much.
Even though some may feel like they ‘improve the mind-muscle connection’ by doing such glute activation warm-ups at the start of the workout, their time may be better spent on doing some actual Hip thrusts.