Aesthetically, having cheeks like a clydesdale horse is great – but beneficial for so much more than simply a rockin’ appearance. When your glutes aren’t working properly, your body may use other muscles to compensate. such as your hamstrings, quads or low back. This can lead to seemingly *unexplainable* low back, hip or knee pain.
In this series we’re going to explore everyones favourite muscle group – The glutes, your tushy, booty, the peach, whatever you want to call them! I’ll most likely be going by glutes from this point forward. I’ll save the anatomy lesson for a future post but to keep things simple.. Today, we’re talking about why it’s important to take care of these muscles and what can happen if you don’t!
Many of us spend hours sitting at work or studying for school (or watching Netflix for 6 hours the entire third season of cobra kai). When your body is in a seated position for this long, it will evolve and change to fit its current lifestyle. Our hip flexors shorten, our glutes are in a lengthened position which causes them to become weak and inactive.
If your glutes are weak and inactive, your body will use other surrounding muscles to compensate. So instead of your underactive, sleeping glutes doing the work during your heavy squat or deadlift attempt, your brain will send signals to overactive surrounding muscles to try to take the force instead. *Enter here, lower back pain.. hip pain..* This can happen muscles other than your glutes, but for todays sake we’re going to come back to that in future posts. Back to the booty!
“So, you’re saying I should never squat or deadlift again, to keep my back safe?” No, nooo… let’s not be crazy! What I am saying is – We must start properly warming up and performing more muscle specific “activation” drills before we start our workouts.
What is glute activation?
Basically, a series of exercises to warm up and strengthen your butt! This can be stretches and holds or work with sliders, bands or lacrosse balls and foam rollers. These movements give a wakeup call to your tushy and tell it to do its job and get it together!
My favourite glute activation exercises are seated clams, glute bridges and single leg supermans. These are simple, they don’t need a lot of equipment or expertise and they’re extremely safe to do! Check them out below.
Single leg supermans
Doing these properly will light a fire under your rear and prepare you to push weight using the correctly mechanics while keeping your core and low back safe!
I would start with doing these movements 2-3 sets of 15- 20 reps (along with the rest of your warm up) to get your body ready for movement. Try it out, give it a few weeks and see if you notice a difference! Hint: You will.