We sit on our glutes all day, every day but that is not what they are best at. In the more modern western lifestyle, we are sitting down at our desks or driving to our next meeting and this causes our big muscles which are hugely important when looking to play sport, running or even walking to ‘switch off’ or become ‘less active.’ The glutes are known as stabiliser muscles of the hip but also work at controlling the knee and ankle. With poor gluteal function, performance can be impaired and injury potential increased. By having a strong base of support this allows your hamstrings and quads to create more power.
So, how can we improve our strength, recruitment and function in the big muscles we sit on? There are many exercises that are said to work our glutes such as squats and lunges, but if these exercises are not performed correctly then this many not be the case. Technique is hugely important and the recruitment of the correct muscles is imperative.
Single leg knee bends are a great functional exercise, but the knee must remain in line with the foot and not fall inwards. Other exercises include squats with a resistance band around your knees. The resistance band will force your knees inwards making the glutes work harder in order to prevent the knees from falling in. A double or single leg bridge can also be effective at getting those gluteal muscles working.
But remember, if it doesn’t feel like your buttocks are working then they probably aren’t!
If you think about adding a couple of simple exercises into your programme to increase gluteal function it will give you the potential to increase your stability throughout the lower limb and decrease the risk of sustaining potential injuries.