Lets look at the Glutes for Hoots!
Baby got back, I like big butts & I cannot lie, Shake your booty……These are all song lyrics we connect with the butt.
Does my butt look big in this? …..Is a common phrase we associate with our butt.
Squeeze your butt, relax your butt, lengthen your tailbone, tuck your pelvis ….are all cues we are familiar with & associate with our butt… but what do they really mean??
Lets look at the functionality of our tooshy & discuss why all the fuss about having a great bum!
The gluteal muscles are a group of 3 muscles that make up the buttocks. The gluteus maximus, gluteus medius & gluteus minimus.
These 3 muscles originate from the ilium (uppermost & largest bone of the pelvis) & sacrum (a large triangular bone at the base of the spine inserted between the ilium) & insert on the femur (thigh bone).
As a trio, the glute’s functionality includes extension, abduction, external rotation & internal rotation of the hip joint.
Glut Maximus is the largest & most superficial of the glute muscles. The upper glute max abducts & externally rotates & lower glut max extends the hip (this is the muscle we associate most with our butt)
Glut Medius has the top notch job of stabilizing the hip & pelvis laterally in a single leg stance (important for when standing on one leg trying to squeeze into your skinny leg jeans)
Glut Minimus is located under Glut medius & is the deepest hip abductor. It internally rotates the hip & prevents anterior dislocation of the femoral head.
A fun fact is that Glut Medius & Minimus sit approximately where a traditional undie line would sit.
For most of us, we spend hours each day at sedentary seated jobs, in the car travelling performing errands or sitting on the couch watching TV at night that our glutes effectively stop firing as efficiently as they can or ‘switch off’.
Once our glutes stop firing, our hip flexor (the muscles that pull the thigh forward) becomes tight & weak. Our quads (the muscles at the front of the thigh bone) become overactive & tight & all of these can eventually lead to the knee being pulled inwards & back resulting in knee pain, back pain, strain & injury.
For those of us with an anterior pelvic tilt (think duck bum with exaggerated arch in the lower back & bulging belly) under functioning glutes play a major role in contributing to this type of posture.
The great news is that Pilates is one of the most beneficial forms of movement to strengthen all 3 gluteal muscles (cue clams, side lying, squats & plies – my favourite!)
The sunny side of strengthening the glutes apart from protecting you’re hips, pelvis, lower back & knees is that you will tone & lift your tooshy at the same time – WIN!!
To strengthen the glutes & lift your behind, try these glute strengthening exercises a few times each week.
Remember to maintain a tight T zone (pelvic floor & transverse abdominus) & relax your upper back, neck & shoulders – make that butt work baby!
WARNING!!! Butt burning glute exercises can result in less back pain, improved balance, better posture & a sexy booty so complete only if you want to be strong, fit & empowered J
Lying down on your right side extend your arm out so elbow is under ear relaxing shoulders
Bring legs into thunderbolt position, stacking knees & ankles
Activate core (Tzone) & lift the side closest to the mat off the mat to create space under your side & length in torso
Inhale to prepare as you activate T zone
Exhale top press ankles together as you open the knee squeezing under the bottom & inhale to return.
Ensure ankles stay pressed together. Repeat x 10-12 reps
Repeat on opposite side
Note: option to use theraband tied around thighs for extra resistance as you progress. Ensure bottom leg remains stable & hips remain directly stacked.
Side lying leg abduction:
Start with left elbow under ear (wrists. shoulders & hips directly in line)
Activate core & lift the side closest to the mat off the mat to create space under your side as oblique’s activate
Inhale to prepare as you activate T zone
Exhale to heel away to lift leg up (foot flexed)
Inhale back to starting position
Ensure you stay lying right on top of hip & don’t role back.
Repeat x 12 reps. At end of 12 reps circle leg forward (tiny circles from the hip) for 8 reps & then backwards for 8 reps) maintaining bottom leg stable
Repeat entire sequence on opposite side.