I’ve fast becoming a bit of a glut fan. If you don’t what I’m talking about then you probably are not in one of my classes, as I talk about these a lot. The gluts are the bum muscles, pretty big global muscles which if they are not functioning properly can lead to a lot of problems. There are 3 gluteal muscle: Gluteus Maximum, Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus. Pretty good names 😉
As you can probably guess, Gluteus Maximum is the biggest of the 3 and it’s one of the strongest muscles in the body, well it is meant to be. When you think of the bum muscles, it is usually this one you have in mind. It works to extend the hip, so you can move your leg backwards and out to the side. It also rotates the hip and extends the trunk.
Gluteus Medius runs higher up towards the pelvis and out towards the side of the thigh. It helps extend the leg sideways and rotates it in and out. Glutus Minimus is the smallest of the 3 and it works with Gluteus Medius.
If these muscles are weak you may:
1. Have a saggy bum.
2. Have an abnormal walking gait and not optimal balance.
3. Struggle getting up from seated or from a squatting position.
4. Have lower back pain.
How can these muscles become weak? It’s often from postural issues and day to day activites. Sitting is a primary problem. You are not using your gluts when seated and your hip flexors become tight which stops the gluts from working. Other reasons can be having too strong quads from training and lordosis – a curve in the lower back which can lead to the bum sticking out. Common in pregnancy.
Top Exercises to help:
1. Squats done correctly. Try using a ball between your back and the wall.
2. Shoulder Bridge, add a knee fold in if you are strong enough. Make sure you tilt the pelvis and then squeeze the gluts so you are not just using your lower back.
3. Oyster/Clam. This works Gluteus Medius. Add a leg extension in if you are ready for the next level.
4. Plies. Squeeze in your bum and thighs as you come up to the top of the move.
5. Lying glut extension. Lie on your tummy, engage the core, let the pelvis drop into the mat and you should feel the gluts engage. Lengthen the legs and lift them off the ground, one at a time. You should be squeezing in the gluts as you lift and not feeling a pull in the lower back.
There are so many variations on all of these exercises, make sure you can master the technique and feel the gluts working properly before adding in too much fancy stuff 😉
Keep It Simple, Simples.