A great class should leave your buttocks buzzing and I am going to tell you why.
After a fiery morning pilates class one of our members coined the phrase ‘buzzing buttocks’ and I think it captures exactly what we should all be working towards so well!
*By BUZZING we mean awake, engaged, activated, strong and DOING THEIR JOB!*
Quick Anatomy Tip – The gluteals are the group of muscles that make up the back of your hip and buttock area. The group consists of three individual muscles that work together – the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus – with the gluteus maximus being the most superficial of all three. Your gluteus maximus is also the largest and heaviest muscle in the body so it’s important we make the most of it.
By the end of this short blog I want you to understand the key role / responsibility that our glutes have and appreciate why I am so persistent with my cues for your to use and strengthen them our classes.
4 Reasons We Need Strong Glutes
- They hold us up – The glutes play a huge role in pelvic alignment, with this they not only stabilise the pelvis itself but also our trunk and upper body. The glutes are extensor muscles, this means they are responsible for the extension of the hip joint and the lower back when they contract. Therefore with weak glutes we would fall into a more flexed position (think of the little old lady / gentlemen you see forward leaning in their spine and hunched short in the front of their hips).
- They prevent low back pain – As mentioned above they are extensor muscles, holding the spine in a tall neutral position which prevents misalignment, pinching on nerves and compression of discs. As we walk, run, jump, carry we are moving our body in a variety of ways and directions. With the glutes being such a large complex group of muscles they are able to absorb the force as we travel through these different planes of movement, thus we avoid the stress (shearing, compression, twisting) that would otherwise be put through the delicate discs and joints themself.
- They prevent wear and tear – I am talking about wear and tear in the lower body joints here (ankles, knees and hips). I am sure we all know someone who shuffles with arthritis in these joints. Often this is triggered by a lack of support from the glutes which means that instead of the joints being held in ‘neutral’ alignment, they collapse, they compensate and they start to move in a way they were not designed to. To get a feel for this yourself. Stand up now… then let you knees knock in, this is the typical posture we see when our glutes aren’t doing their job, now take a few gentle bends into your knees. You should be able to feel how it is awkward and maybe you can even identify how movement in this way wears down on the inside of the knee joint? This posture also allows the arches of our feet collapse and our hips to become more internally rotated, leading to pinching and stress. You can sit back down now. Hopefully that helps you see how just a marginal weakness of the glutes can have a huge effect on the rest of the lower body.
- For balance – It is easy to turn a blind eye to this and say ‘oh my balance is rubbish’ but actually it is really important, a lack of balance is a big reason that a lot of elderly fall. You might not be elderly as you sit here reading this, but one thing for sure is that it will be easier for you to work on improving your balance now and maintaining it as you age rather than worry about it in 20/30/40 years time! The location, size and strength of healthy working glutes provide us with super single leg balance, this is KEY for when we are moving through life wether we are walking, running, skipping, jumping or simply moving around our home.
Hopefully now you better understand why we need strong glutes so let’s look at how we do that!
TOP 10 Exercises You Should Be Doing
On Your Yoga / Pilates Mat + In The Gym:
- Pilates Side Lying Hip Abduction & Extension
- Pilates Glute Bridge Variations
- Pilates All 4s Hip Abduction & Extension
- Yoga Warrior Poses
- Yoga Standing Balanced (Tree, Dancers, Warrior 3, Half Moon)
- Yoga Flow Transitions (the movement between postures are great for stabilising and strengthening your hips / lower back by engaging glutes but so often missed out, especially is fast classes)
- Squat Variations (Goblet, Front Squat, Back Squat)
- Lunge Variations (Rear Foot Elevated, Walking)
- Step Ups
OR you can take out the guess work, join any of our classes and expect to feel the BUZZ!
If you are like 99.9% of the population who spend too much time sat on their glutes and not enough time using them then this is your chance to make a change.
Sign up to our ONE MONTH FREE TRIAL + improve your balance, build strength and stability plus preventing low back pain, wear and tear.
Any questions about this article, any others, our classes or membership please email me.
LET’S GET MOVING,