Butt, bum, booty, derriere, backside, rump, tush, rear end. So many different names for one body part! I’m forever telling my children off for talking about butts and here I am writing about them! However, I’m talking about the Glutes. Specifically; activating them!
The Gluteal muscles are the engine for almost every lower body and back movement we make, our glutes deliver raw strength and power. Think about it, our glutes help us to do just about everything, whether we are walking, running, climbing, jumping, sitting or even just standing still, our glutes are involved, and the stronger our glutes are, the more efficient our movement will be.
The technical bit: Three muscles make up the Glutes:
The Gluteus Maximus one of the strongest muscles in the body, it is also the largest. Its main function is hip extension, which we perform when running, jumping, climbing steps and during many other movements. It also maintains our balance as we walk or run.
The Gluteus Medius is responsible for stabilizing the pelvis and assists with externally rotating and bringing the leg bone out to the side (abducting).
Gluteus Minimus, the smallest of the three, promotes hip abduction and rotation of the thigh.
If any, or all three glute muscles are not strong enough to initiate any of these basic life movements, it affects our whole body. Other muscles are forced to jump in and help out to compensate for our weak glutes, and this may result in lower back, knee or hip pain. I am a living example of this, living with back pain, part caused by my scoliosis and partly by my snoozing backside! I'm a quad dominant athlete, quad dominance meaning that my quads take over during leg exercises and often exercises that I should be feeling in my butt too. This has left my glutes weak, my glutes stopped firing as they should, they are (technical term) "inhibited", my butt is suffering from "gluteal amnesia" or "dead butt syndrome'.
So, I've changed my focus to include glute activation prior to training. In fact, I've started doing it when I wake up. This is to ensure that my glutes are awake, switched on and therefore fire up and engage during lower body exercise. So far, I'm experiencing less back pain (SERIOUSLY BIG WIN!), I can actually feel my butt working, and it can be done in as little as 3 minutes!
This is one of my faves, a real booty burner targeting the gluteus medius.
Strong glutes can help improve posture, alleviate lower back, hip and knee pain, enhance athletic performance, reduce bone density loss and even eliminate that stubborn tummy pooch. What’s more, because muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does, increasing lean muscle mass via glute training can accelerate fat loss and help to keep it off.
All pretty good arguments for training our glutes, right?
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