Why you should activate your glutes

Glutes – the powerhouse of your body

It may not feel like it for some, but the gluteus max (AKA the bottom) is the biggest and one of the most powerful muscles in the body.

The glutes are responsible for keeping our torso erect, and controls the stability of the pelvis, as well as projecting our bodies upright, forward and side-to-side!

Plenty of important functions, right? So, why don’t we all have nice, big, strong behinds?

Our bodies do not actually recruit every muscle fibre to complete it’s daily functions. We only activate the muscle fibres that we “need”. So, when we sit on our bums at work, we are not needing our glute muscle fibres firing, so they go into power-saving mode.

When in power-saving mode, our glutes become weaker and lack motor control (this is how well they respond to the brain’s commands)…

Another cause of weak glutes is the accumulation of trigger points or knots in the muscle. This is because the knots shorten the muscle fibres which then inhibit the full force of the contraction.

When your glutes are not switched on, your body has to find another way to create the same movement.

Unfortunately, this means compensating by using other movements to make up for the lack of glute power. We usually see this with swaying hips, twisting the torso, flicking legs, swinging arms and excessive recruitment of other muscles such as your mid-back, lower back, hamstrings, adductors, hip rotators and flexors.

So,  just because you are running 40km a week, or you can squat 100kgs, doesn’t necessarily mean you are recruiting the right muscles. You can just as easily be over-dominating with your quads, hamstrings, lower back or other surrounding muscles.

Think about it. When you are training glutes, do you pull up sore in your bottom the next day? Or are you feeling sore in other areas above, below and around your hips?

To help rectify your movement patterns and posture, you need to do 2 things:
– Improve your stature
– Strengthen your core and your glutes

Below are 2 exercises you can do everyday to help correctly activate your glutes and strengthen your core…

Now remember, activating muscles isn’t always easy!

A study once showed that it took 1 hour per day of a single exercise focusing on the glutes to be effective in improving glute motor control and decreasing inhibition.

Okay, so an hour per day is pretty excessive! Be patient and persevere with your exercises over a longer period. It might take you a little longer, but you will get there

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Keep on, keeping on. Eventually you will that all-sacred booty burn! Only then, will you be able to increase your glute strength…and perhaps, prevail towards that strong, powerful, bootylicious peach that not only looks great in your jeans, but will prevent you from all kinds of injuries and chronic pains!

– Alli Jennings

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