You may have heard that the gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body, but you may not know that it is also one of the most underused muscles. Having strong, well-functioning gluteal muscles (commonly mentioned as “glutes”) is crucial for good posture and those with low back pain. In fact many PROPER injury rehabilitation programs include strengthening the gluteus maximus as well as the other gluteal muscles. Have a bad ankle? Strengthen the glutes. Bad knees? Strengthen the glutes. Bad back? Definitely strengthen the glutes.
Many people have underactive gluteus maximus muscles due to our constant sitting lifestyle. When seated they are placed in a lengthened position. Being that most Americans spend the majority of the day sitting, our glutes are constantly in this lengthened position. This can lead to the glutes being underactive when performing daily activities like walking, squatting, or kneeling to the ground. As a consequence, other muscles will compensate for “lazy” glutes. This along with other compensations can ultimately lead to low back pain.
Gluteus Maximus activation exercise: Floor Bridge
The goal is to have your glutes do the work. If you feel the tension in your hamstrings, then you are either doing it incorrectly, you are hamstring dominant, or both. This means that your hamstrings are taking over for the glutes. If you are having trouble getting your glutes to do the work, seek out a qualified fitness professional for assistance. Contact Jerry for a free consultation.
1)Clark, Lucett. 2011. NASM’s Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training. Philadelphia, PA. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
2)McGill. 2007. Low Back Disorders: Evidence-Based Prevention and Rehabilitation, Second Edition. Champaign, IL. Human Kinetics . pp. 178.