Updated: Dec 7, 2020
Do you know what happens if you don’t have strong glutes? By now you should at least know what your Glutes are and why they are important to your wellbeing! If you are all over the importance of the Butt, let’s make sure you are doing your glute exercises properly, as we see a lot of clients who aren't!
We've spoken about Glute strength this month, let's take a deeper look at why they are important.
Good glute strength and function provides us with power and stability, our three glutes (Gluteus Maximus, Medius and Minimus) work to stabilise the femur in the hip socket and keep us walking straight; from toe, to knee to hip; loading evenly through the ankles and knees and protecting against osteoarthritis in the hip. The Gluteus Maximus (Glute Max), the biggest of the three, is one of the largest and strongest muscles in the body. It is a powerful muscle that helps us to walk, climb stairs and run.
A 2019 research paper in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy found that weak Glute Max can contribute to knee pain, knee ligament injuries, hamstring strains, lower back pain and ankle sprains. All in all, there are a lot of issues that can be avoided if we properly strengthen our Glute Max.
Many people do glute exercises, but the results we see are often not strong glutes - why? Often when we assess how you are doing your exercises we can pick up insufficiencies. It comes down to one simple question - “do you grip your bum when doing your Hip Thrusts and Squats?” If the answer is “yes”, you’re getting it wrong. If your answer is “I don’t know”, or “what’s gripping?” then you’re probably getting it wrong! So come in for an assessment so we can get to the bottom of it all [pun intended!]
Gripping is the technical word for clenching or tightening a muscle, which is often done out of habit, perhaps a bad habit you were encouraged to engage in as a child! When you grip your bum, you may think you’re engaging your Glute Max, but the muscles you are actually working are your deeper rotator muscles. Your body gets used to using these muscles, making it difficult to activate the Glutes at all.
We often grip because we have poor stability and we turn on our deep rotators to try and create stability. Strengthen your Glutes properly and you will increase your stability.
Back to the exercises - You don’t need to grip when performing Gluteus Medius strengthening exercises, you want to isolate this muscle, so relax and let go of your bum.
Two great exercises for the Glute Max are the Hip Thruster and Squat (see our video library). The hip thruster is the best to get started with, put a band around your legs, just above the knees and lift your hips without clenching, resisting the pull of the band as you raise your hips - follow our video for more guidance.
The squat is a little more difficult for many people, often people will collapse in and push forward with their knees, you can put a ball between your legs to stop them coming closer together, or put a band around your knees and push against the resistance. Remember the exercise is for your bum, so push you bum back as you go down, do not push your knees forward and do not clench! A great way to perfect the squat is practice with a bench behind you and reach your bum back to sit on the bench, keeping your feet where you are and then standing again. Check out our Bum to Bench video to get more advice on how to do this.
If you are unsure about your glute strength or how you are executing your glute exercises then come in for a Glute Strength Assessment and our therapists will give you a personalised treatment and exercises to get you moving properly and secure your future movement. Simply book an appointment, add GLUTE ASSESSMENT to the notes and put your Glutes in our hands!
Company Note: Blog post has been transferred over from previous website