The gluts have become something of a hobby horse of mine lately. Why? Because I’ve noticed so many of my clients need to strengthen them, or cannot work them in certain exercises.
The gluteals are made up of 3 parts: gluteus maximus, minimus and medius. In general terms these are the bum muscles 😉 Weak gluts can lead to lower back pain, poor posture and a saggy bum!
Gluteus maximus is the heaviest muscle in the body and makes up the bulk of the bottom. It attaches in the hip, goes round to the sacrum and coccyx, then inserts into the femur and IT band. A big muscle. It is used in movements that extend the hip such as getting up from sitting and running, walking up stairs and jumping. I certainly notice these muscles are weak in a lot of my postnatal clients, usually as a result of poor posture in pregnancy and post-birth but also as a result of SPD/pelvic girdle pain.
Gluteus medius and minimus are a deeper muscles that helps support the pelvis. They are used for movements that require moving the hip to the side, such as a side step. A tight muscle can lead to lower back, hip and knee pain.
One of my fav exercises. However you really need to make sure you are squeezing and using your bum muscles when doing this so you don’t compensate and use the lower back muscles.
Glut Extension prone.
Try lying on your tummy and lifting one leg by squeezing in the bum. Again not using the lower back but use the glut to do the work here. If it isn’t working, try turning you heels in and your toes out (think ballet first position).
Oyster or clam.
More for gluteus medius and minimus. Make sure you don’t roll back through the hips as you do this one.
Side lying leg lift.
Another for the glut medius and minimus. Focus on leg length and staying stretched out thought the waist (no squidging!). You should find you are not able to life the leg too high if you are stretched out.
Other good exercises include squats, plies and walking up hills or stairs squeezing your bum. My postnatal DVD “Beyond your Bump” has some good glut exercises on it that are suitable for all types of people, not just post-birth.
Watch out for glut stretches on a blog post very soon.