Strong glutes equal happy back
Strong gluteus medius muscles, the muscles on the outside of your hips, are important because they keep your hips level when you walk or run or even stand. This keeps unnecessary movement out of your low back keeping it healthy and pain-free. The hips are meant to be strong and mobile while the low back strong and stable. A prior blog post covers how to release and stretch the gluteus medius muscles. This week we’re going to cover how to strengthen this muscle group.
Are they weak
Let's first determine if you have weak gluteus muscles. You may have noticed that when you walk or squat in the gym your knees drop inwards. This may be a result of a weak gluteus medius. You can still perform the activity, but the movement pattern is all wrong and may lead to hip pain, knee pain, or lower back pain. Surprisingly, weakness can occur on one side as well as both sides. If one side weaker than the other side make sure to do an extra set on that side.
Dynamic release - Dynamic release breaks up the stickiness of the muscle through a range of motion. This gets rid of any adhesions or trigger points in the muscle fibers which are hard to stretch or are resistant to stretching or contracting.
Strengthening - stronger muscles have many benefits including:
Ease of movement
Stronger tendons, ligaments, and bones
Decreased risk of injury
Decreased risk of falls
Here is the exercise to improve strength of the gluteus medius:
Lie on the floor on your left side with your head, shoulders, and buttocks against a wall
Put your head on your hand to maintain neutral spine
Bend the bottom leg and straighten the top leg
Pull your belly button to your spine
Slowly raise the top leg as high as possible and hold at the top for a split second
Slowly lower to slightly above the starting position
Perform 10 to 15 repetitions
Repeat for the other leg
Build to 2 to 3 sets
When this becomes too easy, add ankle weights
Keeping the back and hips against the wall prevents rotation of the spine
Make sure the foot of the working leg remains parallel to the floor
Keep the working knee straight
Stretch - Following the exercise, stretching the muscle allows the muscle to track through a larger range of motion without injury making it stronger.
Stand Up Str8 is all about releasing tight muscles and strengthening weak muscles so if you are having trouble with upper body posture give the Hands-Free Middle Back Strengthener a try. It is a device that strengthens the muscles in between the shoulder blades making them able to withstand the forces against them. At the same time, release and stretching techniques are included for the chest to make the transition from abnormal posture to normal posture easier and faster.