Waking up the glutes

One thing I am really starting to notice not only around the gym but at the beach as well is that no one has butt.  We spend all this time at the gym on the treadmills, elipticals, and bikes as well as (hopefully) doing squats, deadlifts, lunges, and variations of all three I will call the deadsqunge.  I think we had something like that in the basement of my frat house but that is besides the point.  So where did all the butt go?

Both your gluteus maximus and medius are two very important postural muscles that become weakened for many reasons including sitting at your desk as well as never missing an episode of such tv shows as Glee, the Bachelorette, and Deadliest Catch.  One of those shows are awesome, the other two suck.  If you guessed Glee then then drop and give me 50.  Another culprit of glute inactivity is actually caused right at the gym.  People leave their desks, come over to the gym, then plop their asses down on stuff like the pec deck or stationary bike.  Counter-productive?  You bet.

Our glute medius is the primary mover in hip AB-duction (if you don’t know what this means then ask.  Post comments if you need me to clarify) and also stabalizes the pelvis during single leg activities such as walking.  Walking?  Thats pretty important don’t you think?  I’ll let Evan Osar, author of the book “Form and Function” which talks about postural dysfunction:

“In response to the weakened glute medius, there is an increase in the activity of the TFL which takes over the role as the primary frontal plane stabilizer during single leg stance.  The problem with this is the TFL is also a primary mover of internal rotation of the hip and has a significant response on the IT band.  If the TFL is allowed to function unopposed, it will pull the hip and lower extremity into internal rotation during single leg stance, causing ITB syndrome, patellar tracking issues, and a host of other postural dysfunction.”

Yes, what he said and I apologize for getting all nerdy on you there (this is how I spend my time and I still have a girlfriend…sweet).  What Osar is basically saying is that a weakened glute medius will cause not only bad posture but low back pain, knee pain, and Quasimoditis which is a real thing, I looked it up.An easy way to incorporate some simple exercises for your assets is to include them in your warmup.  This is provided you are properly warming up (this will be another loooong post) and if you are not please get some instruction from a coach or trainer, we know a few things.  The other method for strengthening is to perform single leg movements.  Squats, lunges, deadlifts, one legged squats, one legged deadlifts, etc.  Almost any exercise can be performed on one leg, try it out.

  1. X-Band walks work great as part of the warmup.  We have tubing with handles that work really well also since our super bands are super thick.  Make sure you keep your chest tall, your shoulder blades tucked down and back and your hips level.  Do a couple sets of 10-12 with a light band.
  2. Side Lying Glute Med. Activation or “Side Lying Clam” is another great way to warm up the glute medius.  Lie on your side with your knees bent 90 degrees with a mini band around your legs right above your knees.  Keeping your feet together, raise your knee until you feel your glutes firing.  

Pick one of these warmup exercises each day to not only strengthen your glutes but also to activate them before your (hopefully) more intense workout not sitting on machines.  Activation of these muscles will provide you with better function for all of your lunging, squatting, and deadlifting needs.  Stay tuned for my next post on the butt titled: “Baby Got Hip Extension”.

If you like these posts don’t forget to add your email to the mailing list on the right to get updates on new posts.  Ask questions and I will answer.  I was away at the Perform Better Functional Exercise Summit in Providence so I haven’t been able to post but I promise more in the near future.  Peace, love, and glute med’s.

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About s2bfitness

I am a Certified Health and Fitness Specialist and Strength and Conditioning Coach working out of Fitcorp in the Financial District. I have a no-nonsense approach to training and desire to provide the most up-to-date, results based, and fun training environment for my clients. I specialize in fat loss, strength training, program design, corrective exercise, and nutrition. View all posts by s2bfitness

3 responses to “Waking up the glutes

  • Lauren S

    Great post! I’ve been wondering about exercises I could do for my butt, as it’s one of the only muscles that doesn’t hurt after I’ve had a good workout. I’ve heard jumping squats are good too?

    The butt’s a big muscle… you gotta work it!

  • s2bfitness

    Hi Lauren, it’s definitely an underrated muscle whos main function is hip extension. If you spend a lot of time at the desk you will develop tight hips and conversely weak, lengthened glutes. Jump squats will rock the plyometric and power component. One exercise that is also not utilized is hip bridging, which can be done single leg also *wink, wink*. Just make sure you forcefully contract the glutes each time.

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