How Strong is Your Butt? 5 Exercises to Build Your Glutes and Stop Your Lower Body Pain…
One of the great maladies of today’s society is that the majority of people have weak glutes. They are also fatter than a hog on a hog farm. Yes, we are certainly “porkers” and no place is it more pronounced than in America. We sit too long! And when we sit, our glutes get weaker (and looser) and our guts get bigger. I’ve already shared with you exercises that you can do to help your lose your gut. Now, it’s time to get your butt back into shape… strong shape!
Weak gluteus muscles and in particular, the gluteus medius muscle, leads to host of pain and even injuries. From the lower back all the way to knee area and even ankles, weak gluteus medius muscles leads to muscle imbalance and creates pain/injuries. It’s role is multifold, but most important, it’s used as a stabilizer for the lower part of the body as well as the pelvis. Athletes, especially runners, tend to overcompensate when they have weak glutes. Their lower leg may “cave in” (adduct) and the hips internally rotate while running (which leads to knee injuries). Those knee injuries include the ACL and the patellofemoral area, known as the patellofemoral stress syndrome (PFSS). Other injuries that can occur with weak glutes include the iliotibial (IT) band and the ankles.
As I look around at many people, it’s pretty easy to tell who has weak glutes. All I have to do is to look at how they walk. Their gait is not smooth as it is with people who have normal or strong gluteus medius muscles. It may seem funny, but not to the people who suffer from very weak glutes. Talk about posture problems. It’s no wonder more and more people are suffering from lower extremity injuries as well as lower back pain than every before.
It’s time to stop the weak butt syndrome!
There are specific exercises that one can do to help strengthen the glutes and in particular, the gluteus medius muscles.
- The single leg bridge. This is performed laying down. Place one leg in a bent position and the other extended out. Push up with the bent leg and hold for about 2 seconds, while keeping the glutes and abs tight. Do this for 10 reps and switch to the other leg.
- Lateral band walk. Using an elastic band wrapped around the lower legs, force your legs against the resistance in order to feel it in your hip area. With tension set, walk forward 10 steps and walk backward 10 steps.
- Hip Hike (pelvic drop exercise). Standing on a step or even a curb, lower the free leg down and raise it up, using your hip muscles. Do this drop and raising motion for 10 reps. Switch to the other leg. For added resistance, add ankle weights.
- Forward Straight Leg Raise. Laying on your side, bend the bottom leg while keeping the top one almost straight (with a slight bend at the knee). Raise it until it’s about a foot off the ground. Keep your toes higher than your heals (on the top leg). This will force your gluteus medius muscle to work harder. You add ankle weights for more resistance.
- Lateral Band Resistance During Squats. I’ve used this quite a bit with clients and myself. The band is wrapped around the knee area, creating tension. While doing the squat, the gluteus medius muscle is forced to engage.
I would suggest getting an assessment from a qualified professional. Some personal trainers are trained in recognizing muscle imbalances and how to help. Kinesiologists are experts in this field and so are physical therapists. Whether you’re a recreational athlete, high level amateur or professional, it is vital to get assessed. This is true when you are suffering from lower body pain. Correction of muscle imbalances throughout your body will lead to one that is more functional than ever before. If you sit a long time during the day, chances are your body is so out of balance, that back pain, knee pain, ankle pain and others injuries abound in you.
Making next year a lower body pain free one with strong and powerful glutes!