All about those lazy glutes!
All About those Glutes
The glutes are the largest muscle group in the body and they play a key role in moving and stabilising your body. Many of us want a great looking booty but it’s not just about how they look.
Activating and firing the glutes is so important, for the lower back, posture and pelvis stability to correct imbalances prevent injury. The glutes, along with the core are the powerhouse of the body. They give you a good stable foundation for movement in day to day life and during your workout. Plus you’ll never get great abs without well performing glutes! They’re a team!
Lazy glutes are very common, along with pelvis misalignment (I’ll cover that next one week). Both or one glute may not be firing and you may not even be aware of it. It takes time to activate and strengthen the glutes so that they both start to fire without you even thinking about it.
You may feel one side stronger than the other, or you may not feel the glutes at all. The lower back and hamstrings may overcompensate for this and over time will result in injury and deeper muscle misalignment. This is common is quad dominant bodies, misalignment of the pelvis and mild cases of scoliosis (which can be temporary functional scoliosis due to pelvis misalignment).
There are three glute muscles, the maximus, minimus and medialis and underneath these you will find the deep six lateral rotator group.
So what can you do?
Firstly, warm up the glutes and activate them before your core workout, my favourite glute warm up is hip hitches. Stand by a wall, lift one leg with the knee bent, squeeze the glute on the supporting leg as hard as you can for 10 seconds. Release and repeat 10 times. Then switch sides. Follow this with the heel squeeze prone from the Stotts Pilates repertoire. Lay on your stomach in a prone position, move the knees out to the edge of the mat almost, and then press the heels together with toes pointing out to each side. Squeeze and hold for 3 counts, release and repeat. Squats can also be good to warm up the glutes if you know how to activate them, focus on squeezing them when you come back up and push down through the heels at the same time to get those glutes firing. The hip flexors are usually tight when the glutes are weak or lazy, stretch out the hip flexors to reduce the tightness so they are not preventing glute activation. Step into a kneeling lunge, push your weight forward onto the front knee, take your eye gaze up to the ceiling and arch that lower back slightly and you should feel a good stretch across those hips.
After activating them you need to strengthen them, there are many exercises you can do for this. My favourites are the hip lifts, shoulder bridge (pilates move), single leg glute bridge (which is so good for imbalances) and of course squats. May people assume that weighted squats are best for this, but there is no benefit in adding weights unless those glutes are firing properly otherwise you may overcompensate with the lower back, quads and hamstrings worsening the imbalance and causing back issues, the most common injury from weighted squats. Another highly effective and safe way to activate and strengthen those glutes and balance out that misalignment is with the Pilates Reformer.
Happy booty, happy body!!
Stacey, Fit n Fierce.