• Luke Morgan

The Multidimensional Glutes

The Glutes. Everyones got a set, but not everyone uses them... well not properly anyway. We are a generation of people that trains the glutes for aesthetic purposes, but the key functions are

often forgotten. The glutes are the biggest group of muscles in the body and (should be) the most powerful set of muscles too. The role as a group, is to stabilise the hips during walking, running and jumping as well as to generate hip extension, abduction and even internal/ external rotation of the hip.

So we squat, we deadlift and do superman exercises to 'strengthen the glutes'. Although these exercises will stimulate the gluteals, they're not the most effective methods of doing so. Partly because when the average person squats, they don't reach the depth required to get large levels of activity in the glutes, during a deadlift- a lot of people feel it in their lower back or hamstrings before their glutes because of technique again, and superman's often involve too much back arching because the misdirected focus is on height of the elevated leg rather than tension and contraction of the muscles we are trying to use- The Gluteals. For the population of people that are able to squat deeply, deadlift heavily and superman effectively the question remains the same, what are you achieving in terms of gluteal strength? Yes you're now strong in a linear movement but as soon as you need to do anything that requires you to rotate, crossover, change direction or move sideways you've now hit a bump in the road. This is because all of these exercises for 'Glute strengthening' are limited to extension and abduction; but once you start to use the hips in a 3D manner, your aches, pains and weaknesses tend to dissipate.

Before we go any further, this isn't meant to be a problem solving blog post, rather a thought provoking one. So here's what you can do if you're unsure of how strong your glutes are.

Glute strength test

Single leg bridges. Can you lift your butt off the ground and keep your hip bones as level as a spirit level for 30 seconds with good form?

Single leg squats to seat. Make sure your knees don't fall inwards- this is a sign of glute weakness. How many can you do on each leg, is there a difference between each leg?

If not, the gluteal exercises that we recommend at ZEN Anatomy Sports Therapy are: Single leg bridges Curtsy lunges

Single leg rotated deadlifts (check out instagram for more exercises)

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