Hello and Happy Friday!
How has everyone’s week been? Did you have snow or blistering heat? I think Mama Nature has been smoking crack, but I’m not complaining because we’re still having beautiful sun here in Vancouver.
I have a 10k race tomorrow morning and am hosting a little fitness event on Sunday and it looks like the weather will be cooperating for both 🙂
This race was kind of a last-minute thing for me. I have one more half marathon coming up at the end of October, and with the way things had been going with my IT band I had no idea how it would go. So I wanted to run this 10k by myself and really focus on holding back where I need to – I KNOW I can run a 10k without any pain, and I just really needed a little bit of a confidence boost.
Since registering I have also started seeing a chiropractor. She isn’t your traditional crack-and-go chiro; she focuses more on soft tissue release, mainly ART and Graston. AND she is currently writing her Master’s thesis on female distance runners and ITBS…it’s like our meeting was meant to be!
After my initial assessment she discussed what she’d like to do for my treatment and mentioned that within 4-8 sessions I should be good to go. BETWEEN FOUR AND EIGHT SESSIONS. When talking about my recovery program and working back into my running, it was so refreshing to hear her say “When you’re healed…” as opposed to “if you can heal from this…”
I had my first Graston session on Wednesday and it wasn’t quite as horrible as I’d expected. I did what any irrational person would do and spent some time Googling pictures of people who had Graston done and watched a few YouTube videos about what the procedure entailed. Fortunately I came out bruiseless.
My chiro applied some Rock Tape for tomorrow’s race so I’ll probably be the only jackass taped up for a 10k, but it’s been a fun conversation starter when people ask me what those marks under my pants are.
In addition to having metal objects and thumbs dug into my soft tissue, I’m back to the basic glute activation exercises: clam shells, hip abductions, and bridges.
While not necessarily the most exciting of exercises, they’re great for re-activating lazy glutes, strengthening the smaller gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, AND they can tone that butt.
So in honour of my lazy glutes, I’d like to dedicate today’s post to all things booty: how our glutes get lazy and weak, the benefit of having strong glutes, and how we can strengthen them. And you know what happens when you strengthen your glutes? They tighten and they lift. It’s a win-win in my opinion.
So what are the glutes?
The gluteals are a group of three muscles located on your backside, aka your butt. They consist of the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus.
The glute max is one of the strongest muscles in the body and is the big fleshy part of our butts that we all like to admire. Its main function is extension and flexion of the hip, or walking. It allows the legs to move straight in front of our bodies and straight behind.
The glute medius is located along the outer hip (I call it my “side butt”) and is the second largest of the glutes. Its main function is to allow external rotation of the hip and hip abduction, which is a fancy way of saying “lifting the leg to the side”. However it’s also a crucial hip stabilizer muscle, and if the glute medius is weak it can affect the way we walk and run.
And finally we have the glute minimus, the tiny baby glute that hides under the glute medius. It allows the hip to internally rotate and also aids hip abduction.
Since the glutes are responsible for basically all movements of the leg it’s tough to imagine them being lazy, but for many of us, they are.
When we spend a large percentage of our day seated, our glutes don’t have to do any work. Our hip flexors on the other hand are constantly turned “on” because of the position they’re left in. They become tight and over-active, so even once we do get up and start moving around our lazy bums continue to be lazy because their partner muscles over on the hip flexor side of things are going crazy and freaking out.
Why is this a problem?
If our glutes aren’t firing properly they aren’t doing the work they need to be doing, and someone needs to pick up the slack! Oftentimes the hip flexors must over-compensate even MORE, so not only are they exhausted from being “on” from sitting all day, they now also have the responsibility of bringing our legs forward. And our poor hamstrings that get NO love at all as we sit are expected to do all the work of propelling the legs behind us as we walk or run.
This can lead to a host of injuries, including low back pain, ITBS which I am far too familiar with, patellofemoral syndrome, or runner’s knee, and muscle strains.
All because of our lazy butts.
So what do we do to fix this?
We train our glutes, of course! Training our glutes to become stronger has a few benefits.
1. Performing strengthening exercises that are designed to activate the glutes helps to reduce the risk of the injuries I mentioned above.
2. Strong glutes help us run faster, jump higher, produce a greater stride length for walking, and help to keep our pelvis more stable while engaging in any activity that requires movement of the lower limbs.
3. With strengthening often comes defining. While there’s nothing I can do about my flat chest besides spend a few thousand on some fake boobs, it’s definitely possible to transform a flat bum into a perky bum. No surgery required.
When training the glutes it’s important to include a variety of exercises that works each of the gluteal muscles. Squats are considered king when it comes to glute exercises, but bridges or hip thrusts, weighted hip extensions, and even these boring old clamshells I’m doing all have their place in an effective glute workout.
The next time you feel like showing your glutes some love give this workout below a shot. By incorporating it into your routine once each week you’ll have a strong apple bottom in no time 😉 Feel free to save it to your computer and share it with those who you think might enjoy it!
So how ’bout you? Do you have lazy glutes? Do you ever incorporate any of these exercises into your routine? What’s your favourite exercise for makin’ that booty pop?
And don’t forget, you can still wi a box of 8 AMRAP Nutrition bars!! Head to my last post to find out how.