Your glutes are one of the most powerful and biggest muscles in your body. Not bad for a body part that doesn’t often see the light of day!
The gluteal muscles are a group of three muscles which make up the buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. Or commonly known as “glutes”.
Before each training session, and indeed any game, you need to be making sure your glutes are ready to work. If not, you are setting yourself up for potential injury, and limiting your on-field performance.
How can my backside cause me injury?
Using one of my favourite exercises, the Broad Jump, as an example: if your glutes are not firing and awake when performing one, your hamstrings will need to compensate leading to added stress and possible hamstring injuries.
Activating your muscles prior to a performing exercise builds a connection from your brain to your muscle, or you could say getting the muscle fired up and ready to do some work.
I always include glute activation exercises during the Warm Up phase and shockingly I rarely see this being done when I attend footy training sessions.
How can my backside cost me the game?
If the most powerful muscle in your body is asleep, think of the enormous power opportunity that you are missing out on when it comes to sprinting, or breaking through a tackle. All because you have not activated your glutes. Do you get when I’m going?
Why are the glutes so inactive?
Simple answer: Because most of the day we are sitting on our bums and not keeping the muscles active. Even athletes that do a hard training session every day aren’t off the hook if they then spend the majority of the remainder of their day sitting down.
And remember the old saying - if you don’t use it, you lose it. Unfortunately, this is just what happens with your glutes.
So how do you wake up your glutes?
Check out my favourite Glute activation exercise – the Single Leg Bridge with Tennis Ball.
1. Get into the bridge position.
2. Place a tennis ball below your bottom rib on one side, and hug the same knee to your chest, pinning the ball down with your thigh.
3. Holding onto this position, lift your hips in the air, and hold for 5 seconds while you exhale.
4. Repeat 5 times then switch to other leg
Are my glutes strong?
If you're not sure whether your glutes are strong, here are some signs of weak glutes.
1. Poor posture. When most people hear poor posture, they think a hunched back or forward head posture
2. Unexplained knee or hip pain
3. You can't stand on one leg
4. Lower back pain
5. Your glutes are never sore
6. Heel pain and inflammation
(Of course if you have any of these symptoms you should be seeing a medical professional, but these are just some signs)
So go on, get down on the ground now and activate those glutes. If not now, make sure you do it before your next training session, or game – always in the warm up phase.
Next blog post, I will be sharing 5 of the best exercises to strengthen your glutes.
Thanks for reading!