Glutes - Three ways this muscle can help you feel, perform and look better
Your glutes are in fact a group of three muscles - each with a slightly different role - but all of them are important in keeping you feeling better, performing better and looking better.
They aren’t just there to look good in jeans!
Reason 1: The feel better factor.
Your Glutes are primarily there to extend your hip - give you the power to push off your leg, to stabilise your hips and to stabilise the pelvis and low back.
If for some reason your glutes aren't coming to the party, other muscles try to help out, or other parts of the body like your low back start to work harder and do more.
In fact , if you are a person with chronically tight hamstrings you might be surprised to know that strengthening your glutes may in fact loosen the feeling of tightness in your hamstring.
Well, if you aren't using your glute to extend the hip - the hamstring is one of the helper muscles that may just try to take over.
Here is a simple test to try - set yourself up to do a glute bridge exercise.
Do the movement however you normally would and pause and hold at the top (see picture above) - if you feel it mainly in your hamstring - or your hamstring cramps - chances are your glutes aren't doing the job and the hamstrings are copping it.
Get the Glutes back into action - healthy and strong again - and you will decrease the chances of low back pain, hamstring tightness, knee pain and even foot pain.
Reason 2: The Perform Better Factor.
Your glutes are a big dense set of muscles that can create a huge amount of force. They are the powerhouse that drives our ability to walk, run, jump and play all the sports we love.
If you are after the competitive edge in most sports - it would pay off to get the glutes working. Strengthened for explosive power and push off, and better conditioned for endurance sports that involve repeated hip extension or in the case of runners - hip and pelvis stability.
But performing better isn't just about sports - what about just your daily activities…. Like climbing stairs, picking things up off the floor, getting out of the chair (or especially those low lounges) - all of these are much easier to do with strong glutes.
Lets take climbing stairs as an example. If you have a weak/ tight or just plain lazy glute as you go to push off the front leg that is on a step - your knee will move toward your centre. If you are using your left leg to step up your knee would move to the right, and your hip on the same side will push out to the left.
For most people this type of buckling happens without much thought - but keep repeating it and you are likely to have both knee pain and hip pain (lots of people are told they have bursitis over the outer hip due to this type of stress).
Test yourself - put your foot up on a step - and push yourself slowly up. Watch where your knee and hip goes. Does your knee start heading towards your midline? Does your hip drop sideways? (hint - watch your belt line and see if it stays relatively level - if it does that is best - see the second picture).
Reason 3: The Look Better Factor.
And no - i don’t mean you have to look like a famous rock star or movie star.
In fact, some people who look like the have the “big booty” are actually weak. Without the glutes engaging and working well your pelvis is more likely to “anteriorly “ tilt - which can increase the curve in the low back and make your bottom stick out.
Then there is what happens at the front. In this position - your tummy sticks out more - giving you that little bit extra out the front. Even if you dont have any excess weight - it can make you feel that way.
So try this - and look like you have lost 5 kilos in 2 seconds. (Are you up for that??)
Stand up - and make your pelvis tilt up at the front and your bum down at the back. This is done by squeezing your glutes (which may be hard to begin with) and at the same time tightening the muscles of your belly. If you do it right (which some of you may not be able to do easily) you will look thinner immediately…….
Tah Dah -- the magic of your glutes!
The Glutes really are a magnificent and important part of a healthy life. They sometimes require nurturing - stretching , and sometimes they need to be awoken from there slumber - strengthening.
And then sometimes they need both.
Our video below shows you a quick and effective way to find restrictions and tightness in the glutes - a good place to start your way forward to feeling better.
Butt (yes that is a joke) - you cant ignore strength. Try the tests above and see how you stand.
As always if pain persists please call Ash on 02 5310 6259 or book online at www.bodyandspinesolutions.com.au