What is the one exercise that will give you a better looking butt, get you in better shape, and get rid of your knee and back pain? (Hint: you're sitting on the answer)
Explore Fitness trainers and athletes of all ages and training backgrounds use "glute activation" everyday. Whether it's an isolated glute bridge or a hip extension (think squats, lunges, deadlifts), activating the glutes is an essential part of any fitness regimen. Not only will it enhance your performance and reduce your risk of injury, but you'll get a nice butt to boot!
The number one reason for prescribing glute activation is reducing stress on the low back and knees. The gluteus maximus - one of the biggest, most powerful muscles in the body - wraps around one of the most mobile joints in the body: the acetabulum (hip socket). That’s where the head of the femur (upper leg bone) fits into the pelvis, and weakness in that joint can easily lead to chronic pain in the rest of the body.
Many of us are locked in the seated position for the majority of our day, but our bodies were designed for movement. It's as if we were birds, blessed with the gift of flight, but choosing to stay in a cage all day.
The glute max's main job is to extend the femur and keep the body upright. There is a massive amount of that action going on in our daily lives! Whether you're a professional athlete, a casual runner, or simply a 9-5er standing at your desk, your glute max is working.
Because the glutes are one of the biggest muscle groups in the body, they are calorie burning machines when properly activated. If we skip the glutes in our warm up, our bodies will compensate by creating other - problematic - ways to move. In short, if one joint isn't doing its job, the joints above and below will suffer.
Do you have low back or knee pain/injuries? Chances are the root is NOT at the site of the pain. More likely, the pain is a result of a weak butt!
Plain and simple: if your hips aren't moving like they should, your back and knees will move like they shouldn't! Ouch. Compared to the extremely mobile ball and socket joint of the hip, the knee and low back should stay relatively stable.
An alarming percentage of us will experience knee or back issues at some point in our lives, and incorporating glute activation into your daily routine may well be your first move to living pain-free.
Here are some examples of easy glute activation drills you can incorporate to get your booty looking nice and eliminate back and knee pain! With these three examples, remember to keep your abs tight, squeeze your butt, and pull your toes toward your shins. Try 2-3 sets of 10 reps each, before you start any activity.