Glutes are more than just ass’thetics
Glute training is everywhere.
Society today is obsessed with the peach which of course is something I am pleased about, however, I wanted to clarify the benefits of having peachy glutes. In this blog, I explain what those benefits are and why they are so important, so please, keep reading to have a better understanding of your backside...
What do the glutes do?
Your glutes are the powerhouse of your body, looking at human anatomy and physiology we know this is a fact, and by this I mean when you move around day to day your glutes will have to do something about it. Therefore, if you want to maintain a healthy, fit and strong body for life, you might want to consider how well your glutes activate & fire during exercise and everyday life.
The glutes are the most significant muscle in the human body; its primary role is to keep the trunk in an erect posture. Nowadays due to our more sedentary lifestyle hours of sitting for work/play can cause our glutes to stop firing due to the reduced need for oxygen, yes that’s right oxygen. Our blood carries oxygen around our entire body and when you sit for hours on end blood flow is reduced. While sitting blood flow and oxygen to the glutes is not required purely because they are not being used/in demand. Therefore, the body adapts to this, it makes small changes so that the glutes then require less oxygen, this is how glutes become “lazy glutes.”
To understand what the glutes do you must know how they work individually because the glutes are made up of 3 different muscles which are:
The Maximus is responsible mainly for extension of the hip joint, however, is also in charge of lateral rotation. A more natural way to visualise this is if you need to lift your thigh. That means that youʼll be using your Gluteus Maximus in any movement that requires you to extend or abduct your hip for example Squats, Step Ups or even walking steep inclines.
The Gluteus Medius has many essential roles; it is responsible for moving the leg away from the body (abducting) and turning the hip towards the midline of the body (medially rotating). To understand this try standing on one leg, bend the knee on the leg lifted, turn the knee in and then out, your Gluteus Medius is responsible for this movement. It also helps support the pelvis during movement, and we’ll look at running as an example. While you strike forward with one foot the other kicks back and is entirely off the floor, it is the Gluteus Medius that supports the pelvis while this weight transfer from foot to foot is happening.
The Gluteus Minimus is the smallest glute muscle, and it requires precise movements. The Minimus supports the Medius by helping to turn the thigh inward and outward when the hip extends. It also assists the Medius with hip flexion, i.e., bending at the hip (think climbing the stairs).
I'm hoping by now you haven't fallen asleep? If so stand up out of your chair and give your peach a shake to wake up!
Why are the glutes so important?
Remember the term I used “lazy glutes”?
Let me explain this a little better. It is the glutes that are vital to keeping our lower body joints healthy such as our hips, knees and ankles, all of which become well worn as we grow older. Most of society sits down for hours upon end and whilst this is actually ok for recovery if you don’t train your glutes then we are looking at risk of weakness in those joints.
For example, runners often run into hip or knee injuries, and in most cases, this is caused by the glutes being inactive, weak and lazy. Most runners don’t train their glutes…they just run (some do and the exposure on this topic is getting better!). However, it's not just runners, many gym-goers require strong & active glutes to support their weight-bearing gym activity. Those who don't have an understanding of how to activate their glutes in movement usually overcompensate with their joints/other muscles. It is essential to understand here that joints become stronger if the muscles connected to the joint can cope under demand. The biggest muscle connected to the hip, knee and ankle joints is, of course, the glutes.
Now you know what the glutes do, and how important they actually are, has this changed your perception on the peachy ass craze?
Perhaps we could all spend a little more time standing up to break up our frequent sitting?
Perhaps we could adapt our workout regime and include some glute strengthening?
Perhaps glutes ARE more than just aesthetics?
I am thrilled that everyday people are becoming more aware of the benefits of glute training and long may it continue!
In my next blog, I will provide you with some simple banded and un-banded exercises you can do to activate and strengthen your glutes, stay tuned and please comment if you enjoyed this blog!