Physical Therapist, Dr. Erin Weber breaks down the anatomy of the glutes, and the ways you can prevent future injuries by strengthening this muscle group with corrective exercises.
The powerhouse gluteal group consists of three muscles, the maximus, medius and minimus. They function to stabilize the lumbar spine and pelvis, and decrease load to the joints below (hips, knees, and ankles). Our gluteals are responsible for simple tasks including single-limb stance, and provide support for more dynamic activity like propelling us forward to complete grueling marathon mileage.
When these muscles are weak or injured, you can find problems at joints above and below.
Do you experience Achilles tendonitis, knee pain, or lower back pain?
It is likely that the gluteals on the painful side are weaker or inhibited. Part of our physical therapy evaluation includes looking at the functional strength of this muscle group, as well as observing their symmetry (yes, we are staring at your ass).
Take a look, are your gluteal clefts symmetric, is one side bigger? Most of us tend to have a stronger/more defined side, potentially leading to musculoskeletal issues on the weaker side.
Doing leg lifts and bridges are a nice way to isolate these muscles to start to strengthening, but you won’t get a Beyonce butt unless you start to use them functionally. Try to engage your gluteals with walking (squeeze your tush as your push-off your big toe when walking), fire from your “sit bones” when climbing stairs and squatting. Being more mindful of engaging the gluteals will promote better activation and foster support for your joints.
Don’t forget your glutes, because no one wants a ‘grandpa ass’!
Watch our Functional Fridays video of our rehab tech explaining proper squatting form to help strengthen the glutes.