My butt is sore.
I taught four classes yesterday and now my gluteus minimus, maximus, and medius are sore. Yay.
You see, the aforementioned butt muscles are a main component of posture and good posture is paramount to preventing pain and injury.
Weak glutes are super common, even for those of us who are active. Sitting A LOT, which most of us do unfortunately, does nothing for our butt. Correction; it does nothing GOOD for our butt. Sitting tightens the muscles of the front of the thighs, the quadriceps, weakens the butt, and weakens and shortens the hamstrings.
Weak glutes and hamstrings can lead to a bizillion issues. Knee pain, quadriceps injuries, poor posture, low back pain, upper back and shoulder pain, and weakened abdominals just to name a few.
If you think you are immune to such concerns because you regularly run, squat, and lunge your way through a workout, think again.
Running, lunging, and squatting are great exercises but they work the quadriceps in conjunction with the hamstrings and glutes.
In a perfect world a squat is a perfect exercise, just look at all the muscles it works!
But in a ‘perfect’ world we wouldn’t spend much of our day sitting and our muscles would be in perfect balance from front to back.
The quadriceps are work horses and the combination of them being tight and the back of the body being weak leads to quadriceps overkill. Given any opportunity to work, the quadriceps take it, often overshadowing the neglected glutes and hamstrings.
Quadriceps are naturally stronger than the hamstrings but, like all things in life, it’s all about perfect balance.
The solution is exercises that target the glutes and hamstrings while allowing the quads to take a backseat.
Put the weight into your heels to increase the focus on the hamstrings and glutes.
Never turn your head to the side while in a bridge and concentrate the upper body weight across the upper back, not the neck.
Swiss Ball Hamstring Curls
After just one rep you’ll have no question that this exercise works the hamstrings and glutes-big time.
As with the Bridge, keep your head straight and concentrate the weight across the upper back.
Perfect form is crucial in this exercise so if it’s new to you ask a trainer for some help or use a mirror and no weight to spot yourself until you get the hang of it. The key is a flat back supported by engaged abdominals, with the weight in your heels, and your hips going slightly behind you as you hinge forward.
One legged deadlifts are pretty awesome too.
What’s your favorite way to work your glutes and hamstrings? Do you focus on these muscles or go for full body exercises and hope everything balances itself out?
Coming in tomorrow’s post-stretches for the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.