June 09, 2018 | John Paul Catanzaro
“If it looks right, it flies right!”
I once heard a very interesting comment from Yusuf Omar, a York University colleague of mine and one of the technical consultants of my book The Elite Trainer. He said, “An athlete’s glutes should look like half a Calabrese bread standing upright!” Yusuf has worked with Ben Johnson and other elite athletes over the years. He knows that well-built glutes are important for athletic success.
Another guy who knows a thing or two about the subject is Charlie Francis, Ben Johnson’s former coach and one of the brightest minds ever in the business. On page 53 of his book Training for Speed, Francis states the following, “A pronounced gluteal fold gives clear evidence that the athlete is not well trained in the key hamstring (rear thigh) function of hip extension * remember this is the primary source of imparting force against ground during a stride.”
So if there’s an indentation at the gluteal-hamstring junction, further gluteal development is required. You get that through hip extension work (e.g., squats, deadlifts, power cleans, reverse hypers, glute pullthroughs, good mornings, swings, lunges, high step-ups, hip thrusts, etc.) The goal over time is to “fill” the indentation at the gluteal-hamstring junction so that the hamstring “flows” into the gluteal, which indicates high hip extension strength capability according to Francis.
Bottom Line: Next time you see Calabrese bread on the table, think about your glutes!