It may sound weird to some, but having strong “butt muscles” is arguably the most important part of maintaining functionality, exercising properly, and making long-term progress in the gym. I can also argue that Glutes are the bodies main source of stability, strength, and support of all the joints within the human body, without them you will have a low chance of engaging your core as well.
I can’t feel my Glutes?
A very common issue and main cause of injury when it comes to any physical activity is the fact that most people actually can NOT activate their Glutes. Due to our sedentary lifestyles, our bodies are transforming from the most functional species on earth, to one of the most dysfunctional. When we were born, we were able to move correctly with ease because our bodies had not been exposed to the real world of sitting for 10+ hours per day, and not doing enough exercise to counter-act the effects of this lifestyle.
As our bodies adapt to our lack of movement and positions we sit in every day, the body will start to get over-active and tight in certain muscle groups, as well as weak in other muscle groups. Even though there are tons of different postural and movement dysfunctions found in people, the most common issue is getting way TOO TIGHT in the front side of your body, and losing tons of strength all down the backside of the body.
Because of the lack of activity and signal from the nervous system, commonly the Glutes and posterior chain will lose strength to the point where an individual will experience atrophy in certain muscle groups, losing the ability to fire them during exercises.
How does this effect my workout?
Having the in-ability to activate your Glutes can have a HUGE negative impact on progress and results. Lack of Glute Strength will reduce functionality in all planes of motion, limit your ability to do certain exercises, increase joint pain, increase chance of injury, weaken core musculature, stiffen low back, and reduce the total amount of calories burned each workout.
This means that you will slowly have to eliminate high impact or repetitive movements out of your workout routine, over time your joints will start to hurt and your strength will go down.
How do I fix it?
Unfortunately the answer is “it depends”.Every single person will need to take a different approach but there are some general rules and exercises that should point you in the right direction. If you have tons of aches, pains, and atrophied muscles, you may want to come see us and learn more about our Corrective Exercise programs. For now, here’s some advice!
You will want to go in the following order before you start any type of workout routine. This will be the structure of your warm-ups to allow the right muscle groups to “wake up” and the overly tight/strong muscles to chill out a little bit. *Do this after you have properly identified which muscle groups need to be strengthened and or weakened.*
- Foam Roll or SMR: You will need to do a form of Self Myo-fascial Release on the TIGHT muscle groups. In most cases you will want to spend a lot of time releasing the front side of your body. By doing so, you will weaken the overly tight muscle groups, allowing the weakened muscle groups to activate. Hold each muscle group for about 2 minutes or more.
- Stretch: For some reason, people hate to stretch! But, it is necessary for allowing your weak muscle groups to get stronger. Remember, you should not just stretch every single muscle group, you need to identify which muscle groups are in-hibiting your Glutes from firing, and stretch those. Hold for 2 minutes or more.
- Activate: The last step is to activate the muscle group needing strengthening, in this case, the Glutes. Slow controlled movements with holding the squeeze at the top for about 3 seconds should really wake those muscles up!
Here is a great exercise worth trying to help you activate your Glutes:
The floor bridge is a great way to activate those butt muscles! Holding the squeeze at the top for 3 seconds and controlling your weight down for about 3 seconds. Tuck your butt under and pull in your belly button; performing as many sets/reps necessary for you start feeling the burn.
Hopefully this made you aware of the importance of keeping those Glutes strong and functional. If you don’t know where to start or how to identify which muscle groups need help, contact us for a complimentary consultation and fitness assessment down below!
NASM Personal Trainer & Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist