The barbell butt test is a simple method for measuring the size of the Gluteus Maximus muscles on an individual.
In layman’s terms, its measures how big your butt is. First, have your test subject lie on the ground, face down, preferably with their hands above their head. Load a barbell with either iron 45’s, or standard size bumper plates. If the barbell rolls over their glutes without touching, that athlete is in serious trouble and needs to squat immediately. If the barbell touches the glutes, that athlete will earn an acceptable score (could still use some more squats though). If the glutes of the athlete completely stop the barbell from rolling forward, then that athlete has earned a gold star and should probably celebrate by doing some squats.
The Barbell Butt Test
Here are some examples of the barbell butt test in action.
Your glutes are some of the largest muscles in your body, and having a strong backside is important to all of our foundational movements. This means your ability to run faster, jump higher, and squat heavier are all dependent upon your ability to generate force from your gluteus maximus. If your glutes aren’t strong enough then you will lack efficiency to do thing’s like climb mountains, balance on one leg or squat. Athletes with strong glutes will be faster, more efficient and explosive in their movements.
They consist of three different muscles: gluteus minimus, medius and maximus. These three muscles work together to rotate, abduct and extend the hip.
Developing strong glutes can also reduce your risk for injuries in the knees, lower back, hamstrings and groin. Weak glutes can cause an imbalance in the hip, which may lead to excessive medial rotation of the femur and lateral tracking of the patella, thus potentially causing knee pain.
To understand why this is, you need to understand just how muscle work. Think of muscle as a rubber-band. As you stretch that rubber band you can feel the tension build up in it (potential energy). If you let it go when the tension is fully built up, it will fling from your fingertips across the room. This is based upon the “recoil” principal in physics. Our gluteus maximus is part of continuous chain of muscles and connective tissue that displays this “recoil” effect often during Crossfit WODs. Each time that we take a step during a run or hinge at the hips, we stretch out our glutes and rely on this “stretch-relex,” to move us. This makes our glute muscles part of a powerful engine called the posterior chain.