Did you know a lazy bum means exhausted muscles?
Have you ever tried glute exercises for prehabilitation and post rehabilitation? The glutes are a common problem area in many runners, and yet, the problem can go unnoticed because it often disguises itself as other pains. No two runners are alike, thus in one runner, problems can start occurring in places like the IT band (iliotibial band), or the hip flexors, or even the plantar fascia, but don’t be surprised if the root cause is higher up in the kinetic chain–a lazy butt!
It is often glute medius that is the culprit, and it often comes from either new runners or runners who have just stepped up their mileage. At a certain level, say 30km a week, muscle compensation could mask glute medius’ lack of firing, but once the distance increases to say 60km a week, your body will certainly feel the effects of the flaw in the kinetic chain and your body will definitely tell you that something is wrong.
It would do little good if the glutes were isolated and exercised for maximum strength gains, if the sequence of firing is incorrect. Rehabbing the glutes alone is rarely the answer. The focus will be on restoring muscular patterning with compound movements.
So do you want to know how to get your glutes to fire correctly? But first, let’s understand why it is important to have strong glutes.
1. Prevent injuries: if you are looking to get fit in the new year or are just a workout enthusiast or sports junkie, you know the one thing that can throw a spanner in the works (or workout, in this case) is an injury. However, strengthening your glutes and hip muscles can help prevent or recover from several injuries in your hips, knees, lower back and ankles.
2. Improve athletic performance: What are the key movements any athlete should master? Running, jumping, locomotion, twisting and more, right? All these movements have one thing in common: strong and stable glutes. Thus, working on your glutes can help develop power and strength, enhancing your athletic prowess in the long run.
3. Improved balance: Balance is essential at any stage of life – no one wants to have difficulty standing, walking, or getting out of the shower, right? It is important to work towards building a strong core and glutes to ensure that you have improved balance, even as you get older.
A successful rehab program will focus on getting the entire kinetic chain working and coordinated from core to foot. Good form consists of the glutes firing before bigger muscles down the chain activate, like the hamstrings. The biggest benefit is working on the “muscle” between the ears—your brain.
Here are a few tests and simple exercises that will help to seamlessly integrate the neuromuscular firing pattern into your everyday life. TIP: make sure a conscious effort to squeeze the glutes first when performing the exercises, this will train the brain!
TWO GLUTE-FIRING TESTS
Stand straight with head, shoulders, buttocks, and heels against a wall. Does that feel unnatural? If so, you’re out of alignment, which can be a red flag.
Do your glutes complain when you perform 20 donkey kicks (on hands and knees, kick one leg out, back, and up)? If they fatigue, they’re weak. Donkey kicks can be used both to diagnose and to treat weak glutes — build up to 30 per leg.
FOUR WAYS TO WAKE UP YOUR GLUTES
Lying on your back, bring one knee toward the opposite shoulder, performing most of the movement with the active leg and only using your hands to pull your knee to the farthest range of the stretch. Hold for a moment and return.
Standing on your left leg, bend at the hips to reach with your right arm across your body to the floor. Squeezing your glutes, straighten up and ensure to maintain a neutral spine through the duration of the exercise. Do 10–20 on each side.
Stand with one foot on the edge of a box and the other hanging free. Slowly lower yourself down until the heel of the hanging leg touches the ground. Push yourself back up to the starting position and squeeze your glutes. Make sure to keep your hips level and stable.
In push-up position, face down with your body in a straight plank position; raise your right leg, tensing your glutes. Hold for five seconds and return to the original position. Do 10–15 per leg.
Now that you know how to wake up your glutes, it is also important to avoid certain mistakes that can keep you from achieving your glute goals:
1. The glutes are the largest muscle in the human body and pushing them and using greater resistance is going to have the best results.
2. On the other hand, overdoing the resistance or using weights that are too heavy can be counterproductive. If the resistance/weight is too much then your body will compensate and your glutes get nothing out of it.
3. When most people think of strengthening the glutes, they, most often, refer to squats or deadlifts. But the process of building the glutes is so much more than that.
Inactive glutes are often easily resolved, but if not attended to can lead to consistent problems elsewhere. Contact Sheddon Physiotherapist In Oakville or call (905) 849-4576 for the most effective glutes exercises for you.