Getting the Max Out of Your Gluteus Maximus
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:
Tips to Turn Your Glutes On
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.
Meet Larry – A Great Addition to the ALTA Team!
Larry Meyer PT, DPT has a passion
for analyzing movement. That’s why he
became certified as a biomechanical
specialist for the lower quarter, and
why he now teaches medical bike
fitting to other PTs around the country.
To say that Larry is enthusiastic about
biomechanics is an understatement. He
strives to help all his patients move
with ease and return to active
lifestyles. His training is extensive, his
experience vast and his commitment to
helping people creates the perfect combination to make magic happen.
Bachelor of Science: Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, 1997 Doctor of Physical Therapy: Pacific University, Portland, OR, 2004 Certification: Advanced Biomechanics of the Lower Quarter (6-mo. program)
Level I Certification: Functional Dry Needling, 2015 Member: American Physical Therapy Association, Sports & Orthopedic Section
“Poor movement patterns are one of the root
causes of injury, and getting people to feel
better and perform better starts with
teaching them how to move better. Learning
skilled movement empowers people and
restores quality to their lives. That’s what
makes PT a great profession.”