“Glutes are power” – by Certified Biokeneticist
GLUTES – WHY ARE THESE MUSCLES SO IMPORTANT?
Many people exercise their bum for a visual benefit. But as wonderful as it would be to look like Jennifer Lopez, there are many health benefits to strengthen the glutes. These muscles consist of the Gluteus Minimus, Gluteus Medius, and the well-known Gluteus Maximus and are the largest muscle group in the body. The extra-cool part - That means when you engage them, they torch serious calories.
They play an important role in how we execute daily activities, such as walking, running standing and sitting. The gluteus group also aids in posture and when strengthened, they can help avoid injuries of the knee, hip and lower back. It is therefore important in maintaining and building the strength of these muscles to keep the rest of the body in good health.
Signs of possible Glute weakness
Knee or lower back pain
Changes in lower limb mechanisms
Knees buckling inwards
Weaknesses in ankles & feet
Anterior hip pain such as tight hip flexors or TFL (Tensor Fascia Latae) due to muscle imbalances.
Hip drop during single stance activities
Other lower limbs pathologies
Want to know more before we start with the exercises?
What makes up the Glutes?
Your Glutes are made up of the following three muscles that form your buttock area and they need to work as a team;
1. Gluteus Maximus
The largest and strongest muscle of your Glutes and one of the strongest muscles in the human body.
Attaches from the upper portion of your pelvis, sacrum and fascia of the lower back down to the top of your femur (thigh bone) and into the Iliotibial tract (ITB) which then runs down and connects into the side of your knee.
Main action is hip extension and lateral rotation (rotating your leg/knee outwards).
Important during high extension and force activities such as climbing stairs and running.
Supports the knee when the leg is extended.
Works with your hamstrings to bring your torso upright from a forward bending position by pulling your pelvis back.
2. Gluteus Medius
Attached from the upper portion of your pelvis and down to the top of your femur (thigh bone).
Main action is to abduct the leg (moving your leg out to the side) and medial rotation (rotating your leg/knee inwards)
Important during single leg weight bearing positions (when one foot comes off the ground). This action occurs during a crucial daily activity – walking!
But also vital in activities such as running, cycling & climbing stairs.
3. Gluteus Minimus
As the name suggests, Gluteus Minimus is the smallest of the muscle group.
Located beneath the other two muscles it attaches from the outer surface of your pelvis and in to the head of your femur.
Its main action mimics that of the Gluteus Medius and assist to provide support during single leg positions.
What happens if they aren’t strong enough? The result of Glute inactivity or weakness has been extensively researched and shows that it can contribute to many other lower limb pathologies. Why? Because one of their main functions is to support the pelvis during activity. Therefore, if the glutes aren’t providing this support the surrounding muscles can overcompensate and fatigue as well putting additional strain through your joints and ligaments due to the change in biomechanics. For example, if your right Gluteus Medius isn’t as strong as it should be, you may find that when you take your left foot off the ground your left hip drops down, even just a little. What happens with this change in pelvic movement is a twisting through the supporting leg which puts additional strain through the joints of the lower back, knee and ankle. Over time, this can create muscle tension, joint irritation and sometime pain. Another example is if your Gluteus Maximus isn’t as strong as it should be, when bending forwards your hamstrings and lower back need to take on additional load to hold the weight of your torso. This can create muscle tension and joint stiffness over time, especially when lifting heavy objects on a regular basis. For all those parents out there, this includes the simple activity of regularly picking up your children!! EXERCISES to fire up those glutes!
If you want to work those glutes at home, here are some simple exercises proven to help get them fired up! Always remember practicing these exercises using the correct technique to avoid any injuries.
Side lying combo set: single leg circles ,clams and straight leg swings ( 20x3)
Single leg circles ( 20x3)
Clams ( 20x3)
Straight leg swings ( 20x3)
Donkey kicks (20x3)
Walking sideways (crab walks)with a resistance band around your ankles/ knees (10x3)
Anuyou Wellness Centre in Centurion, Highveld Techno Park.