How many times have I heard ‘My glutes don’t work’. Well, if they truly didn’t you would fall over but more than likely you can optimize their function.
In a world where we sit too often and are put into positions of poor posture (think pregnancy, postpartum, mountain biking, working at a computer, etc!) our hip flexors can become quite tight. And the short story, tight hip flexors contribute to the prevention of glut activation!
Symptoms of ineffective gluts can include knee pain, low back pain, and pelvic floor dysfunction (and more!).
To achieve full glute function we need to mobilize and strengthen throughout the area. A muscle needs to be able to reach its full range in order to reach its full strength.
Try these 5 exercises to lengthen and strengthen those glutes!
#1 - TFL release
Find the bony part of your hip in the front (ASIS).
Go (approx.) one inch diagonal from that point, and place that area on your trigger point ball/lacrosse ball against a wall.
Move the ball around slightly, as well as ‘press and release’ (push in and hold for a few seconds as tolerated alongside coming out of it a few times).
Spend about 2 minutes on each side.
#2 - Glute release
Find the ‘pocket’ of your glut with your trigger point ball/lacrosse ball.
Either keep both heels on floor, or increase intensity by elevating one ankle over the opposite knee (like the photo).
Roll the ball around and when you find a ‘sticky’ spot, ‘press and release’ (drop your weight into the ball for a few seconds as tolerated alongside coming out of it a few times).
If this is too intense, try it standing against a wall to start!
Spend about 2 minutes on each side.
#3 - Single leg glute raise + lift and lowers
On back, bend knees so you can almost tickle your heels. Keep one knee bent and extend the other.
Keeping the pelvis stable, lift and lower with the supporting glute.
Once you’ve completed the rep count indicated below, hold in the lifted position, and lift and lower the extended leg for the same amount of reps you completed in the first half of the exercise (ensuring that you keep that pelvis stable!).
Your heel may not make it to the floor with the lift and lowers, that is ok! What is most important is the pelvis stays stable.
To increase challenge, raise the supporting leg on a yoga block (like the photos!) or other slightly elevated surface.
6-10 reps /leg for EACH part of the exercise.
#4 - Standing banded lift + hold
Place band around feet.
Bring feet wide and slightly ducked and come into a ¼ squat position (back must be flat!).
Shift your weight to one foot, stabilize, and lift the other foot up and hold for 1 second.
Place lifted foot down to the same position you started in and repeat other side.
Alternate, moving slowly and ensuring each time you lift your foot up you are able to stabilize on the supporting leg.
16-20 reps total.
#5 - Single leg hinge against wall
Come close to a wall and place feet hip distance apart, bend inside knee and lift.
Press into the wall with the inside leg, with a specific focus on the glut/leg push.
The supporting leg pushes out as well while maintaining knee over second toe alignment – you should feel like you are spreading the floor apart.
Then, shift hips back – neck, thoracic and sacrum should all be aligned.
Drive through your heel to back to the start, standing tall.
8-10 reps each side.
Give those glutes some love!
The majority of people I work with need to work on glute function. And once they do, I have seen athletic performance increase, pain disappear and pelvic floor function repair. If you are looking for further guidance, REACH OUT!