For those of us who sit for a majority of the day, it is easy for our glutes to get weak. When it comes time to get up and go, they remain inactivated, unable to put it in the work required to help our body move safely and effectively. An unstable pelvis causes our body to rely on neighboring muscles to pick up the slack. This stress can lead to discomfort, pain, and even injury, especially in the lower back, hamstrings, hips, and knees. Weak glutes are especially problematic because these muscles, along with our core muscles, are primarily responsible for promoting proper balance, stability, and posture. Fortunately, there are a number of exercises and treatments we can consider to prevent injuries and heal any existing damage caused by weak glutes.
Ironically, many common exercises used to strengthen glutes aren’t particularly effective at fulfilling their intended purpose. This is because your glutes aren’t actually needed to complete them. Weak glutes may not benefit from these exercises, because your body will naturally redirect the hard work to a nearby muscle group, bypassing your glutes altogether. Below are some exercises that focus on gluteal activation. When doing them, avoid relying on your legs; Make sure your glutes put in the work!
Donkey Kicks: Position yourself on your hands and knees, hands flat on the floor directly under your shoulders. Keeping your abs tight, knee bent, and foot flexed, lift your foot up to the ceiling until the back of your thigh is in line with your glutes and back. Bring it back down to the starting position. Do this 15 to 20 times, 3 reps on each leg.
Glute Bridge: Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Arms should be at your side, palms down. Lift your hips off the ground until your shoulders, hips, and knees form a straight line. As you do this, squeeze your glutes and keep your abs drawn in to protect your back. Hold the bridge for a few seconds before lowering back to the start position. Make sure you are not pushing from the heels. Instead, pull power from your hips and glutes alone. Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Monster Walk: Place a mini resistance band around your ankles or directly above the knees. Place feet shoulder width apart and put a slight bend in the knees while stepping sideways. Focus on forcing your hips back. Initiate the side steps with the hips and glutes. Keep control of your second step by pushing your weight into your hips.
In completing these exercises and isolating your glutes in your workouts, you will be on your way to a safer, more stable posture. However, if you find that you are still experiencing pain and discomfort despite your best efforts, a trip to Beverly Hills Posture may be the next best step. Here in the office, Walker Ozar, D.C., our Physical Therapist, or licensed Acupuncturist will evaluate your condition and prescribe treatment. With one-on-one Pilates, yoga, and Gyrotonic appointments, in combination with massage, acupuncture, and more, we will have your glutes stronger and more stable than ever in no time at all!