Dr. Andrew Arnold talks about three exercises that work to strengthen or stretch the glutes and can even help build the booty of your dreams!
Got back pain that won’t budge? Maybe you need to work on those glutes! Well, we’ve got quite the list for you.
WHY GLUTE EXERCISES?
The glutes are made up of three muscles – the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.
The gluteus maximus is the largest buttock muscle and its main role is to move the hip backward. This muscle is important in propelling us forward when we walk, run or jump. The gluteus medius and minimus both act as a pelvic stabilizer – meaning they help to keep the pelvis in a neutral position when running, moving or standing. Other roles include taking the leg outwards to the side and rotation of the hips.
It’s important to keep these muscles healthy and functioning well because weak or tight glutes can cause or contribute to back pain and lead to further issues down the track if not checked.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
We’ve compiled a simple list of exercises to help engage, strengthen and stretch your glutes. It is important to activate these muscles, as they will stimulate the nervous system to allow the nerve to function at a higher level. This will in-turn help maintain posture and balance, which are the two key factors in assisting the recovery of back issues.
You can incorporate stair exercises into your daily routine seamlessly…Catching a train? Take the stairs instead of the elevator! Stairs activate the glute muscles, particularly when climbing. The motion of climbing stairs lengthens and contracts the glutes as you climb each stair. Be careful when walking down that you are gentle in your steps and minimize impact to the knees by planting your feet evenly on each stair.
Weighted squats should be avoided if you are experiencing back pain, as the tension of the weight can cause further muscle and nerve damage. Always check with your chiro before adding weights. Full squats place pressure on the pelvic joints, which can be a source of lower back pain. So, half squats will engage the glute muscles, without putting further pressure on the pelvic or lower back areas. Perform 5-10 half squats and increase by 5 each day for a challenge. To recruit your abductors (the muscles and tendons responsible for pulling your legs apart) try adding a theraband around your thighs, as shown in this image. Make sure you don’t let your knees roll inwards though!
Tight glutes? It’s stretch time! Start by lying (or sitting) on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Take one foot and cross it over your knee, creating a triangle between your legs. Put your hands behind the leg that is still on the floor and pull it towards your stomach. Hold it for 2-5 deep breaths [change amount depending on your recommendations]. If you need help with this one, ask us about it next time you’re in!
If you are experiencing back pain and would like further guidance on exercises and treatment for the issue, visit Cranbourne Chiropractors here at Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre and let us know your concerns. Safe strengthening is a great, proactive way to stay pain-free – and when it comes to your spine, we want you as pain-free as possible!
Athletico Physical Therapy (2012) Strengthen and Stretch: It’s what the Glutes and Piriformis Need. Retrieved from https://www.athletico.com/2012/06/12/glutes-and-piriformis/
O’Brien Chiropractic (personal communication, October 7, 2019)