Sir Mix A Lot had it right when he sang about liking big butts. There is so much more to your behind than just being part of your physical shape and some cushion for sitting. Here the top 4 reasons to work on those glutes every chance you get.
#1- Prevent/help knee pain
One of the biggest reasons for knee pain of all sorts is weak hips. Too often our posterior chains (the entire backside of your body) is under utilized and weak compared to your anterior chain. Sitting most of the day shuts off the glutes and they can fail to reengage when they are needed in activities like climbing stairs, running, and squatting. If your derriere isn't doing its half of the work to move your body, then the extra work falls to your quadriceps and puts excess pressure on your knees. This problem is especially common for women who tend to be more quad-dominant.
Strengthen those glutes, have less knee pain.
#2- Prevent/Help low back pain
Our joints are designed to alternate in stability and mobility. Your thoracic (upper) spine should be a mobile joint system, your lumbar (lower) spine should be a stable joint system, and your hips should be a mobile joint system. If your glutes are weak or underactive, all that movement they are supposed to be controlling while standing, walking, and running is potentially being transferred into your lower back. Suddenly you're asking small muscles meant to stabilize to take over the movement of the much bigger gluteal muscles which, not surprisingly, creates strain and fatigue. More strength and control of your glutes will mean your hip movement really comes from the hips and not the lower back.
Strengthen those glutes, have less lower back pain.
#3- Increase your power
Want to be able to bound upstairs with ease? Pick heavy things up off the floor like it's nothing? Jump higher or further? Sprint faster? You need strong glutes! These powerhouse muscles offer some incredible power from the bottom of a jump, through a lift from the floor, and through the hip extension of a sprint. You'll be surprised to see how much easier even walking feels when you've got more power coming from behind!
Strengthen those glutes, have more power.
#4- Improve your balance
Every single one of my clients works on balance with me because most of life really happens on one foot. You walk, climb stairs, and run one foot at a time. When it comes to icy sidewalks, unsteady trains, and any other obstacle of daily life that threatens to throw you off balance, the glutes are critical for staying upright. As the primary hip supporter, your gluteal muscles (especially the gluteus medius) offer stability and control when things get unsteady. Don't believe me? Try any single leg exercise and you should feel your glutes immediately start working to keep you upright (assuming they are turned on and working - see bonus comment for more info on this).
Strengthen those glutes, have better balance.
Bonus- how to turn on your glutes
Now that you're all excited and revved up to get to work on that booty, you should know that some people have a harder time than others getting their glutes to start working efficiently, especially if you sit most of the day and haven't been active in a while. If you perform a standard glute bridge and you don't feel your bum working, try some clam shells. Pictured below is without a band, but I recommend putting a mini/circle band on up above your knees to make the exercise more effective. Still not feeling it? Put your hips against a wall so your lower back can't try and help your glutes out when it comes to moving your top leg.
Happy booty building!
lover of fitness, sweets, veggies, adventure, travel, and feeling confident.
If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done. - Thomas Jefferson