Want to be better, faster, stronger? Of course you do... Whether you are an athlete or just trying to keep up with your kids we all want to be a little bit better, faster, stronger. Well, the good news is you can be all of these with a little focus on your gluteal muscles. A powerful kinetic chain with your glutes being the largest link will give you the power to jump higher, run raster, and hike longer.
So tell me more about those glutes...
The gluteal muscles are a group of three muscles that make up the buttocks. These muscles are the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus, decreasing in size respectively. The gluteal muscles are responsible for extension of the thigh at the hip, abduction of the hip, external rotation of the thigh at the hip, internal rotation of the thigh at the hip, stabilization of the knee during hip extension via the iliotibial band, and extension of the pelvis at the hip (Martin, 2013). This basically means that the gluteal muscles are responsible for standing up, pushing through the ground as in a jump or sprint, rotation at the hip, and stabilization in the lower body. If you look at athletes in almost any sport, you will see well developed and powerful gluteal muscles. Sprinting, pushing, jumping, punching, nearly all rotational movements, and almost any movement involving the lower body, all require strong and powerful gluteal muscles.
Gluteal strength is not only about the ability to push through the ground in order to create maximum power. Gluteal strength is also vital in creating stability in movement. The gluteal muscles provide the stability necessary to maintain posture and achieve the necessary rotation without producing a slide or sway. This stability is important in forward motion such as running as will as rotational activities such as throwing a ball or swinging a bat. In addition to providing stability in movement in sports, the gluteal muscles also provide necessary stability in the body that reduce the risk of injury and prevent pain.
Strong Glutes Can Reduce Pain
Weak gluteal muscles can contribute to Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, back pain, and iliotibial band syndrome. When the gluteal muscles are under active, the psoas major, a hip flexor, takes over and can create pain in the lower back. In order to reduce back pain in many people, it is necessary to get the hip flexors to relax while developing and engaging the gluteal muscles. Developing the gluteal muscles and the stabilizers in the lower body can also help correct knee valgus and reduce the risk of injury to the hips and knees (Crontreras, 2013). Knee valgus is a common occurrence in sports and can be seen in people walking down the street everywhere. Knee valgus is the collapse of the knee inward. Though the cause of knee valgus is not fully understood and is likely caused by several factors, weak gluteal muscles can contribute to knee valgus which increases the risk of injury to the knee and is a strong predictor of future injury to the ACL.
Gluteal muscles in conjunction with the hamstring muscles and the other muscles of the posterior chain help to make athletes more powerful and stable. Those out there who have no interest in athleticism and sports can still benefit from the pain reducing and injury prevention benefits of strong gluteal muscles. There are many ways to develop strong gluteal muscles, but working with a skilled and knowledgeable coach is the best way to ensure that your technique and exercise approach will produce the desired results. Weak gluteal muscles create inefficient and ineffective athletes. Strong and powerful gluteal muscles create powerful athletes and injury resistant people.
Crontreras, B. (2013, June 14). Knee Valgus (Valgus Collapse), Glute Medius Strengthening, Band Hip Abduction Exercises, and Ankle Dorsiflexion Drills. Retrieved February 10, 2015, from http://bretcontreras.com/knee-valgus-valgus-collapse-glute-medius-strengthening-band-hip-abduction-exercises-and-ankle-dorsiflexion-drills/
Martin, D. (2013). Gluteus Maximus Anatomy: Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation – The Wellness Digest. Retrieved February 9, 2015, from http://thewellnessdigest.com/gluteus-maximus-anatomy-origin-insertion-action-innervation/
Parker, M. (2013). Improving Your Golf Swing: Why the Glutes Matter. Retrieved February 10, 2015, from http://activedgefit.com/improving-your-golf-swing-why-the-glutes-matter/