Last time I wrote an intro about how Lazy Butt Syndrome can cause low back pain. As a recap, recall that the pain you might be experiencing in the lower back, hips or legs may actually be a consequence of GLUTE INHIBITION…lazy butt muscles that are not doing their proportionate share of the work in moving you or supporting your body. Read that article first if you have’t yet.
This month I will introduce 4 key exercises for you to awaken those lazy glutes.
1. Hip square exercise – Get on your hands and knees on the floor. Position your hands so they are directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hip joints. Keep your head and neck in a neutral posture while looking straight down at the floor. Extend one leg back with the knee locked straight and point your toes back too. From there, imagine your leg is a pen and you are drawing a square. Move the leg out, then down, back in and then up. Those are the 4 corners of your square. Perform at a moderate speed, don’t rush it. Repeat 15-20 times, then switch legs. Your glute muscles will be burning at the end of the set.
2. Hip bridge exercise – Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet hip width apart. Press through your heels and push your hips up off the ground until your body is flat and straight from your knees down to your upper chest. Squeeze your glute muscles HARD and hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Drop back down slowly and rest for 5-10 seconds. Repeat this 10 times. As a more challenging progression, you can perform this exercise with one leg extended forward…this will isolate one glute at a time while also working core stability/balance.
3. Monster walk – You will need a strength band to perform this as shown in the video. Alternatively, a latex loop band placed around the knees is another option. With both feet, step on the strength band with feet about shoulder width apart. Pull up on the other end of the band with your arms and get into a half squat position. From there, take 15 side steps to the right then take 15 side steps back to the left. You should feel the muscles in the side of your hip working.
4. Single leg deadlift – Start in a standing position and slightly lift one leg backwards off the ground. From there, hinge forward at the hip and try to bring your arms down toward the floor. Try to have only a slight bend in your knee (unless you are like me and have tight hamstrings!). Slowly return to standing position and squeeze your glute at the top. This is a challenging exercise because it requires good balance to do it properly. Perform 10 repetitions and then switch legs. As your technique improves, you can add weight by holding light dumbbells in each hand.
Other simple things you can do during the course of your day are:
- actively contracting your glute each time you push off your back leg while walking
- squeezing and contracting your glutes for a few seconds repeatedly while you quietly wait in line at Starbucks!
Not sure if you have inhibited glutes but sure you have back pain, hip pain or knee pain? Come in for a full assessment and find out!
Saying good bye to summer!