As I get the opportunity to train more athletes there is one thing that seems to be a recurring issue. It has got to be glute strength, or lack thereof. Many young athletes, during simple glute activation exercises like glute bridging usually need to compensate in a variety of ways to perform the exercise. These are either extending from the low back or the need to use their hamstrings as the primary hip extensor. Both of which can be problematic when we are asking for only pure hip extension. McGill has called this “gluteal amnesia.” Basically the typical 21st century person sits too much which often tightens the hip flexors on the front of the body which then inhibits the muscles on their direct opposite (glutes). Because of this typical lifestyle you will tend to see this dysfunction (lower-crossed:Janda) in many people. Here are the following pain symptoms that you may have because of poor glute functioning/strength.
- Low back pain relates strongly. Lack of hip extension from glutes can cause excessive lumbar extension
- Hamstring strains: Primary hip extensor is glutes. When they are “shut off” so to speak (even though no muscle is never completely turned off) the hamstrings pick up the slack.
- Anterior Hip pain: poor biomechanics of hamstring as hip extensors again.
- Anterior knee pain: due to poor glute medius strength
One way to combat this is to incorporate glute activation exercises into the warm-up or to pair with some of your strength exercises. Even on days where you are not lifting lower body (does any guy in S. Jersey lift lower body?) it may be wise to add in some glute activation as “filler” exercises.
- Glute Bridges, Off-Bench Hip Thrusts, Lateral MiniBand Walks, Cook Hip Lifts etc. These are all great exercises to incorporate each day to a warm-up or as fillers besides the normal strength work. His is a video I found hilarious on the hip thrust. I still do glute bridges probably every day before a work out, but I am starting to switch to these as they are a progression to from the normal glute bridge.
- By the Way: This lady crack me up, I don’t know why, but basically you should get the idea. Just focus on squeezing your butt getting your hips through and make sure you are not extending from your lower back. Do not think of keeping your abs “pushed in.” There is no reason for this at all. Anyway the vid is hilarious as the title says. “You do not a sloppy butt.” Something like 2 x 10 should suffice.