Meet your Glutes!
Welcome to our first post in the ‘Meet a Muscle’ series! In this series, you can expect to be introduced to one of your muscle groups. You will learn:
- Where the muscle is
- What it does
- Why you should CARE
- How to train it
Why? Because knowledge is POWER.
And studies show that:
the more educated you are about exercise,
the more likely you are to adhere to exercise throughout your life.
So we are starting with that most trendy of muscle groups, our glutes!
What is it?
Your ‘glutes’ are actually a group of muscles; gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus. The glute maximus is the largest muscle in your body and the primary player here.
Here’s the anatomy:
And here’s the
What do the the glutes actually do?
Your glutes are responsible for hip extension (ie. standing up, deadlifts), hyperextension (ie. kick your leg backwards, supermans) and abduction (ie. kicking out to the side, clamshells).
Why you should care
Many people don’t realize it but your glutes are considered part of your ‘core’ (pretty much anything that isn’t an appendage is part of your core). As such, they help balance and stabilize the body during almost every activity you do. At least, they should….
….But alot of people are suffering from ‘gluteal amnesia’
The term gluteal amnesia was coined by my favourite core training expert, Dr. Stuart McGill (he’s the reason we don’t bother with sit ups at our Bootcamps). It basically means your glutes have forgotten how to activate due to lack of use. Because we spend so much time sitting on our bums and not enough time walking and climbing stairs, our brains – those amazing computers of efficiency – decide to let those huge glute muscles go dormant. Which means that our hamstrings and lower back take over the job of extending the hip and stabilizing the pelvis. Which can lead to:
- lower back issues, ( including Disc Herniation)
- knee issues (including Patellofemoral pain Syndrome, IT Band Syndrome)
- hip pain (including Piriformis Syndrome)
- a challenge in pulling off the short shorts trend with dignity and grace:
I think I have gluteal amnesia! What do I do?
To address gluteal amnesia, we want to wake that lazy ass UP.
We do that through isolated glute activation exercises. These will remind our brains to fire off those awesome powerful muscles and reinforce the neuromuscular pathways that activate the glutes. The idea is to do these exercises before you train and really focus on how it feels to actively engage through the glutes. This way they get ‘switched on’ for the remainder of your workout. Here are a few exercises that will do the trick. Try 20 reps on each side for 2-3 sets as part of your warm up routine.
Then once you’ve activated the glutes, you can move on to more compound lower body movements (like squats and lunges and deadlifts, oh my!) and your glutes will be firing off like the fourth of July.
You’ll be all like
And if you really want to work your butt off (or, um, on) check out my signature GLUTE CHALLENGE. It’s a Fit Feels Good Bootcamp favourite!