Bottoms. We all have them, but how strong is yours?
Did you know your body can actually switch on the wrong muscles because the correct ones are weak or inactive? This is most common in our glutes and can result in lower back pain, muscle spasms, and even nerve pain. Our Accredited Exercise Physiologist explains more.
What muscles do I even have back there?
The muscles along the backside of your pelvis are commonly referred to as your Glutes. The Glutes consists of your Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, and your Gluteus Minimus. These muscles attach from the top of your pelvis to the back of your femur (thigh bone).
Why are weak Glutes a problem?
Your Glutes are responsible for stabilising the hip when you land, propelling you forward as you walk, pushing you forward as you walk up stairs, and most importantly for holding your pelvis upright when you stand.
If your Glutes are weak or inactive they cannot hold your pelvis in the right position or help maintain correct alignment of your femur. This can cause the wrong muscle groups to be “switched on” and over activate to help compensate for the lack of strength in the Glutes. Our brain sends a signal to muscles close by when the Glutes cannot activate sufficiently, these muscles then cause a change in our walking pattern which can lead to increased stress and damage on our joints.
This over activation and compensation is what leads to pain, muscle spasm and nerve pain. This can not only be seen in lower back pain, but also as ITB syndrome and patella-femoral pain (knee pain).
Could you have a weak bottom?
Many of us spend hours sitting at a desk each day, or driving a car to and from work. When we sit, we put our hips into a forward tilted position. This causes our hip flexors (the muscles at the front of the thigh and hips) to become short and tightened. At the same time your Glutes are placed into lengthened position, which causes the fibres to weaken over time as they are pulled too far apart.
Being in this position for hours upon hours can have a significant effect on your posture, both sitting and standing. Our bodies are yet to evolve to our current lifestyles. We need to keep in mind that although we are not hunting and gathering all day, we do need to exercise all the muscles in our body to stay mobile, avoid pain and prevent chronic diseases.
Can I strengthen my weak Glutes?
Yes! The great thing about the human body is that it is highly adaptable and trainable. By correctly identifying which muscles are weaker, and which muscles are over compensating, you can train your Glutes to activate properly. Not sure what exercises to do? We’ve put together 5 Exercises to Kick-start your Glutes.
Contact Us if you have any questions or would like to find out more about our Exercise Physiology services.