I need to learn how to engage my glutes more in the squat.
I can easily tense them whilst sitting and as part of my pre-/post-workout stretching I do glute bridges several times for 20-30secs a pop.
I just seem to have difficulty feeling them engage when I'm in the hole. Once I'm a few inches up I can get the glutees going and they help straighten me up.
Is it a technique issue or is it a matter of getting some more power into them with glute-specific exercises?
Nope, not done any box squatting, just normal squatting.
Legs wider apart, keep your arch in the hole.
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I'd start with hip hinging. Hip thrusts are good for activating the glutes, especially after sitting all day. But to ensure your using your glutes in a squat, you need to know how to hinge. Box squats too.
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I think you're thinking too much. You know you can flex them, so they're working. I assume you're sore after squatting because you said once you're out of the hole you can feel them. It just seems like you're focussing on something that probably won't make a lick of difference.
Sit in the hole and push hard. If you come up - good job. If you're worried about your glutes, focus on them with some assistance work. Again, if they're flexing, you're just fine. In all my years of squatting (going on 20 years) I've never worried about it while squatting. I've always tried to wake them up with assistance work.
I was going to mention widening the stance also. That involves the glutes, hams and adductors more. Box squats probably would help too. But like Rhodehouse said, if you're squatting fine and just don't 'feel' them kicking; I wouldn't worry much.
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Cheers for the input, all!
My stance is pretty wide anyway - I find it easier to balance like that.
I'm inclined to believe what Rhodehouse says - I'm probably focussing a bit too much on them; my numbers are going up each session, I'm not getting stuck in the hole, so the whole package is working alright.
However - I think I might rotate in some box squats at some point, as they can never be a bad thing.