Of all the places in the world, Why Do I Feel Bench Press in My Glutes?
As weird as it sounds, it’s something that you may have experienced in the gym.
Granted, you’re probably more likely to feel your front delts or triceps when you bench.
Then again, there is a possibility that you may feel bench press in your lats or even your hips.
But, how the hell do you end up feeling bench press in your glutes?
As it turns out, there are numerous reasons why, and just as many ways to fix this.
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Feel Bench Press in Glutes
There are various reasons why you may feel bench press in your glutes. Firstly, your glutes should actually be activated when you bench, as this provides protection for your lower back. However, if you use leg drive then you’ll generally stimulate the glutes even more. It’s also possible that you have weak or tight glutes, especially if you live a sedentary lifestyle and typically spend much of your day sitting. This would cause you to feel your glutes during a wide variety of exercises.
1. Your Glutes Should Be Activated During Bench Press
As strange as it sounds, you should actually be activating your glutes during the bench press.
This is typically to help with leg drive, which I’ll cover in more detail in a moment.
However, it makes sense to actually view the bench press as a full-body exercise, rather than just a chest exercise.
RELATED===>Why Can’t I Feel Bench Press in My Chest?
Okay granted, you’ll definitely work your front delts and triceps too when you bench press.
With that being said, in order to lift more weight, it actually makes sense to bring other muscle groups to the party, without actually cheating your bench.
Firstly, you should retract your shoulder blades which provides you with a stable and slightly elevated base for your torso.
Additionally, contracting both your abs and your glutes will actually protect your lower back.
So, if you’ve ever felt bench press in your lower back, it’s because you’re not activating your core.
In effect, you want to keep an extremely tight body all over, as this will help you to bench press more effectively.
Therefore, you may actually already be contracting your glutes without realising it.
This is, of course, a good thing, but will also explain why you potentially feel bench press in your glutes.
2. Are You Using Leg Drive?
Okay, I’ve mentioned that bench press should be viewed as a full-body exercise.
Plus, the use of leg drive will typically help you to bench more weight.
Now, I’ll admit that when you use leg drive during bench you’ll often feel it in your hips or hip flexors.
RELATED===>Why Are My Hips Sore After Bench Press?
This generally points to a tightness of the muscles, and maybe even a weakness in this area.
So, it makes sense to stretch and activate these muscles beforehand.
With that being said, when using leg drive your torso will obviously arch, but you must ensure that your butt stays tight to the bench.
Once more, this will help to protect your lower back while benching.
Just the simple fact that you’re trying to keep your glutes stuck tight to the bench will stimulate them even more.
In truth, you actually want more glute activation when using leg drive.
The best way to achieve is to push your knees out, in much the same way as you do when you squat.
And much like the squat, if you use the “knees out” method while benching with leg drive, you’re going to feel it much more in your glutes.
Is Your Butt Coming Off the Bench?
Now, something else to consider is that if you are allowing your butt to lift up from the bench, you’ll generally end up squeezing your glutes even more.
Obviously, allowing your butt to lift when benching is dangerous, and may lead to injury.
However, if your butt does rise you’ll become acutely aware of the additional stress that you’re placing on your lower back.
This typically leads to squeezing your glutes as tight as possible in order to protect your lower back.
So, even though you should be contracting your glutes, you shouldn’t allow your butt to lift off the bench.
“Knees Out” – Activating Glutes For a More Powerful Bench Press
3. You Have Weak or Tight Glutes
Another reason that you potentially feel bench press in your glutes is a tightness or weakness in this area.
To be honest, many of us probably have tight glutes, and this is most commonly due to poor posture.
In fact, poor posture is typically behind many aches and pains that we feel both in the gym and our daily lives.
Let’s face facts, we spend too many hours nowadays slumped over a desk, or staring down at our phones.
Okay, I’ll admit that we typically feel the effects of poor posture in the upper or lower back, as well as the neck.
However, you must remember that it is the glutes that connect the lower body to the upper body.
Therefore, if you do spend a lot of your day bent at the neck or slouching, then it’s likely that you’re going to feel it in your glutes too.
This is then made worse when you perform an exercise, where you don’t specifically realise that you’re also using the glutes, e.g. bench press.
Furthermore, it could also be the case that not only are your glutes tight, but they’re also fairly weak.
Once again, these two issues generally go hand-in-hand.
I’ve already spoken of the glute activation that is involved during bench press.
So, having a weakness in this area is far more likely to leave with sore or aching glutes after you bench press.
Therefore, it makes sense to unlock your glute muscles, as well as working on strengthening them too.
So, as you can see, there are a number of reasons why you feel bench press in your glutes.
Firstly, your glutes should be activated during the bench press, as this provides protection for your lower back.
Your glutes are even more involved if you use leg drive during bench press.
Plus, if you allow your butt to lift off the bench, then you’ll need to contract your glutes even harder to protect your lower back.
Finally, it’s fairly common to have tight or weak glutes, which could explain why you feel them whenever you bench press.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.