A bit of contention, but we all have big butts for a reason. Or compared to your biceps, shoulders or calves anyway! This is because the Glutes need to be able to do so much. They control the ‘top down’ movement of your head and trunk etc and also of the ‘bottom up’ part of you ….meaning of your legs and the reaction of you contacting with the ground.
Glutes NEED to be able to control movement and be strong. So many of us extensively sit and this does nothing to help with strengthening your butts. This even deconditions your glutes. Then some of us go to the gym or exercise and only train this fantastic muscle in one plane. To really get your glutes working well (‘switching on’ or firing) you really need to to a combination of multi-plane exercises. The exercise that you do must not all be in one direction. This should involve some side-to-side and some rotational loading.
Many people garden at this time of year and this involves a lot of bending down. Great glutes will really assist with this. Yet we do very little to help with our bending.
If I went to lift a heavy weight with my arm, many may say ‘that’s too heavy, you have not done that before. You need to regularly exercise those muscles in your arms to be able to do that. Your gluts are the same. To enable you to bend well, your glutes need to be able help with the job of bending. If a crane was only rated to lift 1000kgs – you would never load up that crane with 1500kgs because you would be worried it will fail. And it probably would fail!
When we bend many muscles, our glutes included, have to be able to cope with the weight of our head, shoulders and trunk and then be able to sustain that bend for as long as we are bending. If your butt or glutes are not strong enough, one of the parts that often fails is our lower backs. And lower back pain is massively prevalent in today’s society. There is way too much of it.
Dr Rangan Chatterjee recently did a post about back pain. One of the things he mentions in his post was the butt and how it really helps our backs. It is massively important!
The last think I wanted to say was that along with training your glutes in a multi directional way, you must train them in an ‘integrated’ way rather than in a ‘isolated’ way. It is not just about that buzz word – ‘the core’. All our muscles work as a team and no one muscle ever works by itself when we move. Your glutes NEVER work by themselves and so you must train them in an integrated way. For example, when you bend, your calves and hamstrings switch on along with your glutes and the muscles in your lower back.
Thinking about this when you train can make exercise much more fun, but also more challenging.
If you are worried about a problem or want some advice, come in and see one of our osteopaths at Back to Back. Call 020 8605 2323.