Glutes are important in all lower extremity movement. But half of us are walking around with our glutes turned off. The problem is “sitting disease.” Even if we are active, we probably sit a good chunk of the workday. We may be working, but our glutes are on vacation.
The primary role of the glute is to move the leg back. When glutes are not firing, hamstrings take over. That’s a problem. That’s when you start to see chronic hamstring tightness, lower back pain and more.
So if the glutes are important for healthy movement, and if they are asleep on the job, what do you do? More bridging, or more squats with kettle
balls? Probably not.
Dozens of studies have examined what exercises are best to strengthen gluteal muscles. Bridging is one of the best. Here’s the problem: the studies were all done using healthy subjects.
So if you have a history of problems, you can bridge all day long and not activate the right muscles. Those weak glutes might be what got you in a hot mess in the first place.
Here’s what you do:
It starts with posture… and breathing. Sound familiar? (If you’re lost, click here to check out the last 3 newsletters to get up to speed). In a nutshell, neutral spinal posture fosters lower costal breathing. Lower costal breathing activates the pelvic floor. A responsive pelvic floor acts as an anchor from which you move your legs.
And posture is not just important for breathing; any time you tuck your bottom, you turn off the glutes – so stick that tail out! No butt winks!
The following video gives you several ways to start strengthening your glutes:
Here’s the caveat: evaluating your own movement patterns is really tough. And getting to the root of the problem often takes a trained eye. So if this video doesn’t work for you, our therapists have more tricks up their sleeves, and we’ re always happy to help.