We have all heard of our glutes. And we all have glutes. But what does glute activation mean?
Glute activation is training your glutes to switch on and contract fully when exercising.
Why is this important?
If your glutes are not working properly, then when you are running or doing squats, for example, the majority of the workload is done by your quads and hip flexors. Over time this will lead to tight quads, hip flexors and ITBs, as well as knee problems. Many clients we see with lower back pain have poor glute activation or dysfunction.
Having glutes that are strong and contract efficiently take the workload off these other muscles and increase your core and hip strength.
So what do we need to do to strengthen our glutes? Here are a few easy exercises you can do at home.
Try doing a half squat with your feet slightly further apart than your shoulders, then concentrate on contracting your glutes while in this position. Now slowly move down and up while contracting your glutes.
Another exercise is to lie face down and slowly lift each leg off the floor one at a time, feeling your glutes contract.
Turn over onto your back, bend your knees with both feet on the floor. Now contract your glutes while lifting your hips off the floor.
Lunges are also good. Even just contracting your glutes one at a time while standing will help. Anything you can do to practice engaging and contracting your glutes will improve your form and reduce the risk of injury.
Finally, also remember to take time to fully warm up before exercise. This increases the blood flow to muscles, gets them ready to work and increases joint flexibility. This is crucial for reducing strains and injuries.
To learn more about corrective exercise and treatment for lower back pain, click here to make an appointment with one of our Sports Therapists.
For further reading, check out this article by Australian Personal Trainer Camilla Akerberg. Camilla also has some good advice on nutrition and the importance of carbohydrates.
For more information, personalised to you, speak to our Sports Therapists today.