The strength of the glute muscles can have a major impact on the overall strength of your body. Your glutes support your core, help to support a range of exercises and compound movements, as well as help avoid muscle imbalances that can lead to decreased muscle mobility. So prepping the glutes are important in agility athletes that use their lower body for their sport. However, strong glutes are also important in those who have a physical job, computer job, and the weekend warriors!
Fun fact: Glutes are the largest muscle in your body. Its job includes keeping the pelvis, spine, and knee in proper neutral position, assist with everyday activates of daily living like going up a flight of stairs, and assist in range of motion of the hip. Specifically, there are three major muscles in this area: your Gluteus maximus (the main, large muscle that shapes your backside), your Gluteus Medius and your Gluteus Minimus (two smaller muscles that assist your body in moving your body). Together the glutes work with your other core muscles to support your spine and maintain your posture.
Why is glute activation so important?
Learning to activate your glutes properly is important so that you can strengthen them. The strength of the glute muscles can have a major impact on the overall strength of your body. Weakness in glutes can cause other surrounding muscles, example hamstrings and hip flexors, to overload and over train, and can lead to a greater risk of injury to them. Weakness and tight glutes can also be contributed to low back pain as well.
With so many of us having to spend the majority of our day “glued” to a chair, we are in danger of contracting the “sitting disease” which can lead to muscle degradation and a bad back. By strengthening your glute muscles your spine will have more support and your pelvis will automatically begin to stabilize. Both of which are essential to improve posture.
Improved Athletic Performance
Your glutes are actually capable of generating an incredible amount of power! Strengthening your glutes can lead to improved speed, acceleration, and explosive power – athletes with stronger glutes are stronger and faster than those with weak glutes. The same goes for dancers, those with strong glutes can perform higher jumps and safer movements than those with weak glutes.
Reduced Chance of Injury
Strong glutes play a vital role in reducing injury and having strong glute muscles can prevent serious injuries to the knees, lower back and hamstrings, all of which are essential to simple daily activities. Weak glute muscles can also cause poor lower back alignment which can lead to some serious injuries including sprains and tears in your back muscles.
Exercises to Prep the Glutes
There are various exercises that can be performed in prepping the glute maximus, glute medius, and glute minimus.
Simple exercises like clams, monster walks, bridges/hip thrusts, and standing hip abduction, can assist in activating and targeting the glutes. These exercises can be performed with a theraband around knees, ankles, or both! It is recommended to start off with a low level theraband (yellow), the build up to a moderate color (blue). Fatigue is likely to be seen when first learning how to activate the glutes in exercises. Proper cueing and form is also important so the patient doesn’t recruit other muscles and it helps perform the exercise correctly.
If you find yourself having a problem activating your glutes or want to strengthen or progress them even more, stop by our clinic for a specialized exercise program to restore mobility and decrease pain.
Leslie Wieland ATC, CMT is an Athletic Trainer at Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Orange County, California and can be reached through their website at Welcome to Compete Sports Performance • Compete Sports Performance