Hi there, this is my first blog post for the new website, and I’ve decided to dedicate it towards the glutes, one of our most underused and significant muscles.
Our glutes are essential to our being. They are the reason that we can stand upright and are some of the strongest muscles in our posterior chain. A thought I had recently is that we tend to think of the glutes as two things, a right one, and a left one. Some of us may understand that we have a glute max, glute med, and glute minimus, but even beyond that there are more muscles inside of our glutes.
Besides our three primary glutes, we have stabalizers of the femur, internal as well as external rotators that help snug our femur into it’s hip socket appropriately. These muscles, often neglected and not really talked about, include your piriformis, obturator externus and internus, quadratus femoris, and finally your superior and inferior gemellus. All of these muscles help us lock our femur more efficiently into the pelvis, allowing for more range of movement with the legs.
I want us to think of our glutes as prime movers, loaders, muscles that help direct how the other muscles attached to them fire, ie; hamstrings, quads, erectors, the list goes on. Building proprioceptive awareness of your glutes is crucial to the development of your body, and it will keep you safe into your lifetime.
The problem is that we don’t use them. Look at our lives. We sit at work, we drive to sit at work, we drive to sit at home, and even when we stand in the world, typically we slouch into our joints and never fire the glutes deliberately. Continuing this way will be a problem down the road if not properly addressed.
In terms of glute activation at the gym, we are quick to send all our weight loading to the knees. This is why I harp on the importance of developing a strong hip hinge. When we bend into the knees, stress accumulates at the kneecap, eventually the ankle, and we inhibit the glutes from turning on. We’ve got to unlearn this slinking into the joint action and learn how to activate our butts!
Below I’ve made a video of a simple exercise to do at home or at the gym to start to work those deeper muscles. When you do it, go barefoot and try to hold each side for :10-:20 seconds at a time, 5-10 reps per leg. This is going to help you learn how to stabilize your hip and knee, while also teaching you how to square the hips.
Increased recruitment of muscles will help you connect dots in your body and perform more difficult movements with a greater sense of control. As you improve your neuromuscular awareness, you will begin to understand how to consciously activate more muscles in your legs, back, shoulders, and core. Building this kind of physical awareness will help your body get stronger, recover quicker, and experience less inflammation in the joints. For this sort of activation forget about squeezing your butt, as it does not fire the stabalizers in your glutes efficiently enough. Explore your movement more by learning what it means to hinge your hips, and what it is like to feel your butt muscles contract.
If you see me around the box please come ask me how to fire your glutes better. Don’t feel your butt firing on during certain movements? Come and ask. One day I hope to start posting videos about how to fire the deep glute muscles, but for now you’re best off finding me and asking me directly. My door is always open and I love to share my knowledge to make you all better movers. So if you want a bigger, rounder, more supporting booty, start playing with ways to really feel the butt work.
Cheers to our butts! They do a lot more than ‘squeeze and tuck;’ they support us when we stand, guide us while we walk, and act as the prime mover when lifting things up. Stay cheeky!