Here at BIA physio…….we are all about the butt!
The glutes are a group of muscles in your bottom that play a key role in so much of our daily function as well as in sport. They are used to drive the hip backwards forcefully in running, squatting and lunging movements as well as having a major role in hip stability for when we are on one leg.
It is commonly thought that weak bums are the main cause of lots of injuries, knee pain, ITB syndrome, achilles pain, lower back pain…..the list goes on.
However at BIA, we don’t think it’s all about glute strength…..we think it’s more about the timing of the glutes. If you took the glute muscle out of our bodies and measured its actual strength it would likely be pretty strong. However, we think that the glutes are just not active when they should be. If the glute doesn’t kick in at the right time then it actually doesn’t matter about it’s strength. We see lots of people with this very problem, from normal members of the public to high level athletes – their glutes just do not kick in in time.
However the good news is that glute timing is very easy to teach and people make progress much quicker than the time it takes to develop pure muscle strength. The brain just needs to be reminded about your bottom!
Here are some simple exercises to try at home to get your glutes engaged. They aim to get your glutes firing and the connection between your brain and bottom improved. If you find it hard to switch on your bottom in isolation as below, it might mean that your glute timing is not as good as it should be and you may not be getting the best out of your glutes……so have a go and see how good your glutes are!
- Glute squeezes
How? Squeeze your bum cheeks together, hold for 3 seconds and relax. Then try to squeeze the left cheek without the right cheek and vice versa. Be careful that your quadriceps or hamstrings don’t join in too as this often happens – it should just be your gluts. Can be done in any position. Place your hands on your bottom to have a better feel of what’s going on.
Why? Isolates the gluts and improves the pathway from your brain down to your bottom which improves the use of the gluts in function
- Glute squeeze and lift
How? Lying on your stomach, squeeze your left glut and then raise your left leg straight up a few inches off the floor and slowly lower down. Key is to initiate from the glute first
Why? The glute is the primary muscle for this movement but for most people the hamstring wants to do the work. This exercise re programs your brain to say the glute does this movement and encourages the glut to kick in first.
This is how we often start our patients with glute timing problems. Once they get the hang of this then we progress them into more functional positions and aim to replicate movements they do in their sport or daily lives.
So try squeezing your bum left and right and see what happens!!
If you have any questions on this or what to see how your glutes are working then be sure to get in touch!