There is far too much talk about what our backside looks like and not enough talk about what these muscles actually do.
There are three different glute muscles:
Together, these muscles are the primary movers for hip extension, hip internal rotation, and hip abduction (moving the leg away from the midline of the body).
While the glute maximus is the largest and most powerful of the three, (and what I like to call one of your “pretty muscles” that gets a lot of hype because it contributes to what our bodies look like), the glute medius and minimus also play a really important role in controlling the motion of the pelvis and the femur, (they might not be as “pretty” but their function is key to smooth and pain free movement).
Our glutes do so much more than just produce movement at the hip. Strong glutes are important for proper pelvic alignment during running, and even support and balance when standing on one leg. And here is what might grab your attention:
Strong glutes help to support the lower back anytime we lift something
Strong glutes prevent knee injuries and pain during lifting and walking/running
Strong glutes are key to increasing power and athletic performance
Say that again–glutes help:
1. Reduce Back Pain:
Your glutes handle hip extension, but when your feet are fixed to the ground when standing, your glutes assist with raising the torso upward, like when you pick up a package from your front porch. Therefore, when your glutes are strong, you have a more stable pelvis and better support for your lower back. This means any load can be more evenly distributed through the lower back and lower extremities.
**One sign of weak glutes is a rounding of the back when you pick something up off the ground or perform a deadlift.
2. Reduce Knee Injury and Pain:
The pelvic stability the glutes provide is important for other reasons as well. Our lower extremities function together in a closed kinetic chain. When your pelvis isn’t stable, it puts a lot of pressure on your knees and ankles to compensate.
Instability at the hip can cause excessive medial rotation of the femur, which creates lateral tracking of your patella (kneecap). This improper lateral movement is a common source of knee pain.
3. Increase Power & Athletic Performance:
It doesn’t matter if you are an Olympic athlete or a weekend hiker, your glutes are essential to many active pursuits: acceleration, jumping, climbing, lifting, and more. Your glutes not only help you prevent injury, they are also your powerhouse. If you let your glutes get weak, you may find yourself less powerful and less effective on the golf course, the tennis court, your next road race, or the hikes you like to take.
So, how do you get stronger glutes?
Strength training, my friends (I know, that is my solution for almost everything).
Here are 7 of Empowers’ Trainers’ favorite Glute Strengthening Exercises (one for everyday of the week–hint, hint):
Lateral ankle band walks
Single leg squat
Single leg deadlift
If you would like more instruction on how to do these exercises or even better, a whole body fitness plan to help you reach your goals, we can help.
Schedule a FREE session with an Empower trainer and get started Today!
Want a quick Fab Four Fitness Moves workout to strength and stretch your glutes at home?
Check out this video and challenge yourself with this workout:
Single Leg RDL x 15 each leg
Curtsy Lunge x 15 each leg
Lunge with Forward Reach x 15 each leg
Figure 4 Stretch – hold 60 sec each leg Workout:
Repeat this circuit 3 times!