You may have noticed that we Physio's are slightly obsessed with glute activation...this if for good reason! Glute strengthening can be incredibly beneficial for so many issues from low back pain to knee dysfunction to Achilles troubles. The gluteals are made up of three muscles – gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. These muscles not only assist in moving the hip but also have an important stabilising role around the hip and pelvis when we walk/climb/run/jump.
As Physios we see a lot of stubborn glutes/lazy bums! There are many reasons people have difficulty getting their glutes to fire – whether this be weakness, postural dysfunction, muscle inhibition due to pain or overactivity of other muscle groups (hamstrings, hip flexors etc). We can decipher these causes by looking at your walking pattern, posture, muscle tightness and hip and core strength. A classic example of glute inhibition is often seen in people with low back pain. Low back pain often leads to changes in muscle activation patterns resulting in overactivity of the superficial back extensors and hip flexors and poor activity, strength and endurance of the deep trunk and hip muscles.
Our team at The Studio come across folk daily who have difficulty finding that mind to muscle connection in order to achieve that amazing glute burn we are after! But never fear! As Physio's we have many strategies and exercises up our sleeves to wake up those dormant glutes. Some of our favourites include:
- Glute bridges – Brilliant for deep core activation and pelvic stability
- Standing hip extension/kick back – A fantastic pelvic stability exercise, that glute on the standing leg has to work super hard to keep the pelvis level! Watch for any pelvic movements!
- Side-lying legs in straps – A personal favourite of The Studio team, performed on the reformer. This exercise and a million variations will certainly get those glutes firing.
- Scooter on the reformer – Amazing for activating those glutes on the standing leg.
Your sleepy glutes will be wide awake after these guys. You’re welcome!