If asked to pick the most important skeletal muscle for health and fitness, I would have to nominate the gluteals. Many may know the glutes better as your bum, backside, derriere, – you get the idea. A firm, toned pair of glutes is an asset (couldn’t resist) that many covet from an aesthetics point. However, the role of the glutes in producing high verticals, speedy runners, and injury free knees and low backs is well established as well. Unfortunately, developing this critical muscle group remains elusive for many, and there are several reasons for this.
Few are doing exercises that will target these muscles, and those who are doing these exercises are doing them incorrectly. The result is many frustrated people with injuries, struggling to jump higher and run faster with pancake bottoms. Too many are suffering from gluteal amnesia, and are in desperate need of an “add-an-ass-tomy”. (I can’t take credit for creating these great terms, but I will abuse them at any chance I get!).
If you have anterior knee pain, back pain, frequent hamstring strains, fail to increase your running or jumping ability, and have an underdeveloped backside, I bet you suffer from gluteal amnesia. This condition means that you have forgotten how to use these crucial muscles. As a result, you compensate with a quad dominant movement pattern. I see this all the time in treating my physical therapy patients or working with fitness clients. Here are a few of some of the best gluteal exercises.
An article in JOSPT (DISTEFANO, et al. JOSPT, July 2009.) validates our use of these exercises, which reported that these exercises, (not the ridiculous donkey kicks pictured below you see in the fitness magazines) are the best at recruiting the gluteals. As you will see, technique is critical, and the learning curve can be steep. However, the pay off is huge. Try these exercises, and you’ll likely experience a burn in your buns that one of our own trainers calls a “back yard barbecue”. It is the first sign that you are moving down the road toward a firm back side, improved speed, and decreased injury. If you think you may suffer from “gluteal amnesia”, be sure to give us a call at 978-927-2065, or click here to inquire about an initial consultation.