The glutes have been a topic of discussion in many groups I am involved in. People being told they don’t know how to fire their glutes. It isn’t a matter of not knowing how, the muscles technically know how to fire. It is a matter of learning how to move the body properly so the glutes can do their job.
Why our glutes aren’t firing properly?
The body is amazing at compensating. From fairly early on in life, our bodies forget how to move properly. Or to be more accurate, our bodies learn to move improperly due to the stresses we impose on it through immobility (not moving enough), poor postural awareness, and not challenging our bodies through a full range of motion when we are moving.
Correct these movement patterns and we will improve the firing of the muscles. It’s that simple!
Why are the glutes important?
The glutes, all of them, play a big role in our function.
The gluteus maximus is the primary hip extensor. It is the muscle that fires to get you out of a chair, let’s you go up stairs, and helps you lift things.
The gluteus medius is primarily a hip stabilizer, meaning it helps keep your hip in the correct alignment when walking, standing, etc.
The gluteus minimus is also a stabilizer, but more of the pelvis. This helps keep the pelvis level when on a single leg.
As group, if they aren’t strong or aren’t firing properly, other muscles are required to take over for their job. Over time, these compensations result in pain or injury.
So how do we correct this?
As a very basic answer, the correction for this is twofold. The body needs to gain proper mobility in certain areas in order to achieve the necessary positions and the body needs to be taught how to move properly to allow the glutes to fire. There are many more complexities involved with the process, but as a general, these are the starting points for most people.
Mobility is commonly lacking in hip joints and ankle joints. The hips and the ankles both need proper mobility in order to our bodies to get in the positions for the glutes to fire, especially when thinking about getting into and out of a squatting position. Along with that, another component is upper back mobility in order to help us maintain our upright torso in that squat position.
You can check these out if you are looking for ways to improve your mobility:
Along with the mobility, we also need to look at movement patterns, starting with the hip hinge. The hip hinge is the beginning movement of almost everything. If you can’t hip hinge properly, you aren’t using your glutes as the primary mover with squats, deadlifts, lunges, or any day to day lifting tasks.
Once you learn how to hip hinge properly, you can carry this movement over to initiate our squats, initiate your deadlifts, and performing most (if not all) lifting tasks.
You can learn how to hip hinge properly by watching this:
Once again, these are the very basics to begin learning how to move your body properly. There is a lot more involved once you master this. To learn more about this and get other ideas, email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or check out Get Your Fix Physical Therapy on Facebook.
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