The glutes are the connection to the upper and lower body. The glutes can be divided up into three primary muscles Glute maximus (which is the largest of the three) Glute Medius and minimums (the two smaller of the gluteal muscles), glute med, and min are the main movement controllers. Followed by six deeper support muscles known as the lateral rotators (Piriformis, Gemellus superior, obturator internus, gemellus inferior, quadratus femoris, and obturator externus).
Why are your glutes important?
The glutes are important as it provides your body with better balance and control, which makes basic activities like walking, running, climbing stairs, and sitting with the correct posture easier to do. Strong glutes give you a better posture and gait, stabilizes the pelvis and spine, and assist in proper leg alignment. When your glutes are weak you are subject to soft tissue and joint injuries. Weak glutes can cause hip/knee pain, lower back/hamstrings/groin pain because the muscle surrounding the glutes will have to pick up the slack. Having other muscle pick up extra work from the weak glutes increase your risk of overuse injuries in the various areas (lower back, hamstrings, and groin). Having strong glutes and training your glutes decreases your risk of injury and overuse of other muscles.
The importance of glutes for an athlete
As for athletes having strong active glutes is essential as it plays a huge role in your balance and change of direction, power, run, stop and jump. Athletes who have strong glutes increase their performance as they can run faster, jump higher and perform more complex maneuvers with complete control. So potentially adding in a session a week to work on your glute strength can take your skills and ability to the next level.
How to know if you have weak glutes and what to do
If you have weak glutes, you may experience the following symptoms, Decreased hip mobility, poor posture, movement, and knee or lower back pain. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms previously listed check-in with your physiotherapist or exercise physiologist and they can provide you with glute strengthening exercises/program.
If you are experiencing Glute or hip or lower-back pain, please seek the assistance of a healthcare professional for advice.
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Written by Emily Schofield, Remedial Massage Therapist.