One of the most common things we see during Functional Movement Assessments is that many humans don’t have enough strength in their glutes. While many folks out there get too concerned about the size of their bottom, there is so much more to your glutes than its shape and size.

The human backside consists of these three major muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. This group of muscles is extremely important as it extends the hip (pulls the thigh behind you), abducts the hip (your lateral movement to the side), and does internal and external rotation of your hips.

When our glutes stop firing, our hip flexors (the muscles that pull the thigh forward) get tight, start offering a lot of discomfort, and, ultimately, increase the chance of injury (low back pain anyone?)

What causes weak glutes?

Today more than ever, humans have weak glutes because of sitting for long hours at their jobs, in their cars, and on their couches. Moreover, most workout plans don’t pay much attention to these glute muscles, which forces people to use improper techniques and fire up the wrong muscles. Since these muscles are often turned off, even doing the exercises that strengthen them may not be enough if your brain and body are not engaged.  This is where careful, slow and controlled movement with direction from a professional is extremely beneficial.

How it affects your health and life?

Since all the muscles in the body are interconnected, weakness in one muscle can affect other body parts. Weak glutes can lead to a lot of physical discomfort and limitations such as:

  • low back pain
  • lack of hip mobility and health
  • unstable knees
  • poor posture leading to headaches and migraines
  • body stiffness and chronic discomfort

Performance plateaus are another common result of weak glutes. If you’re an active runner, cyclist or a hiker, without strong glutes you’re not only limiting your athletic performances, but also exposing yourself to higher chances of injury. The glutes are the LARGEST muscles in the body - but we don’t use them!

When you’re not able to move without experiencing discomfort in your lower limbs, it literally takes a toll on your lifestyle. You say no to events that involve high amounts of physical activity like hiking and recreational sports and you find it harder to keep up with younger generations, be it your kids or grandkids, nephews, or second cousins.

What can you do to increase strength in your glutes?

Contrary to popular belief, doing squats will not make your glutes that much stronger. Squats simply aren’t the best glute exercise because they only target the quadriceps with a little bit of gluteus maximus, ignoring the other two glute muscles – gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.

Before you jump into strength training, focus your programming on the mobility and stability of your joints, and open your body up to the full three planes of motion, not just the one you are strong in. Here a lot of our exercises are focused on mobility and proper functional technique with the use of bands and bodyweight movements. Exercises like bridges, kettlebell swings, monster walks and anterior reach are where it’s at.

This allows us to connect the brain to the muscles and build patterns so that using your muscles properly becomes second-nature. Proper neuro-muscular patterning is crucial and in order to do it right, we have to take our time.

If your focus is to increase strength in your glutes, we recommend participating in our Functional HIIT and Strength + Mobility group classes. For a more personalized solution, our Personal Trainers can work with you to teach you how to better activate your glute muscles and prepare a personalized program that focuses on increasing strength in your glutes and mobility in your lower limbs and more. Request your consultation below if you’re ready to learn more.