THE IMPORTANCE OF GLUTEAL ACTIVATION
The Importance of Gluteal Activation
The gluteals are commonly one of the most down-regulated muscles groups in our body – meaning many people have a hard time switching them on. Down-regulated gluteals are a leading cause of many musculoskeletal issues that I treat on a daily basis, most commonly back pain, hip pain and knee pain.
One hypothesis for society’s glute struggles is that we spend a hell of a lot of time sitting, where our gluteals are placed at a mechanical disadvantage and have no reason to switch on. This makes it harder for us to utilise them effectively when we actually need to e.g. walking, running, squatting, lifting. If we try to do things such as this but we struggle to switch on our glutes, our body will compensate by over-utilising other muscle groups such as our hamstrings, hip flexors or lower back muscles – which is what can cause pain and injury.
A few things to keep in mind to ensure you don’t unnecessarily increase your risk of injury:
*Avoid prolonged periods of sitting or inactivity. Make a habit of alternating between sitting and standing and generally keeping yourself moving throughout the day.
*Make sure gluteal activation/strengthening exercises are a staple in your training program (bridges, hip thrusts, abductions, external rotations etc).
*Always focus on achieving a mind-muscle connection when performing lower body exercise. CONCENTRATE on squeezing your glutes and feeling a contraction rather than just going through the motions.
*Something as simple as squeezing your butt repeatedly a few times throughout the day can be powerful enough to increase neurological drive to your glutes and contribute to a more effective musculoskeletal system.
B. Health Sciences (Physio), APAM