Activate Your Glutes

Feb 23, 2021

When it comes to movement, our bodies are masters at compensating. If we are weak, immobile, or dysfunctional in one muscle, joint, or region, chances are your body has found a new way to continue moving. It just might not be the correct way and it may lead to pain, injury, or premature degeneration.

Pain is a great indication something in the system is not working the way it should. The dysfunction may indeed be at the site of pain or it might be coming from somewhere else. Limited glute activation is common with those who compensate in their movement. It will often contribute to a problem in a different area such as low back, hips, knees, or feet. If there is a weakness in the glute, the stress will build into these surrounding areas.

Your glutes have a lot of tasks. They help you stand, walk, squat, go up-stairs, go for a run, and get in and out of your car for example. If we haven’t been using them efficiently due to poor movement compensations, we may start to overuse other areas such as the low back muscles, quads, or TFL/IT-bands. This creates a muscle imbalance that is bound to result in pain or injury.

Many are unaware of whether or not their glutes are or aren’t doing their job. Do you feel them being used when going up the stairs, squatting, or even standing? Some people can’t feel them or don’t know what it even should feel like. If you’re having difficulty, we are here to help resolve it! We can help assess to see if they are contributing to your issue and then teach you how to feel them and how to use them.

One of the many exercises we often teach to help activate and strengthen the glutes is the Glute Bridge. This exercise helps with hip extension and stabilization. It can be modified to become more or less challenging depending on your level.

Glute Bridge:

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Use your glutes to extend your hips without arching your back. Squeeze and push the feet into the floor as you raise your pelvis off of the floor as far as your glutes can take you. Keep your core tight and engaged without letting your rib cage flare. Ideally, we want to finish the move with full hip extension as if your knee was in a straight line to your shoulder, but if you’re not there yet without compensating, then only go as high as you can with proper glute engagement.