Your Gluteus are more important than you think

When it comes to strengthening and conditioning the gluteus are an often overlooked area of the body. There is a lot of emphasis placed upon the core and core strengthening for fitness and rehabilitation – but your gluteus play an important role too.

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Gluteus 101

Essentially, your gluteus are your butt muscles! There are 3 main muscles that make up your gluteus:

  • Gluteus Maximus

  • Gluteus Medius

  • Gluteus Minimus

 The Gluteus Maximus is the largest of these muscles (and indeed the largest in the whole body!) which is primarily used for upper leg extension.[1]

Gluteus Medius and Minimus perform similar functions, mostly to do with supporting and stabilising your body on your legs and helping to internally rotate your thigh.[2]

So why are your Gluteus so important?

Your gluteus play a very important role in keeping your body stabilised and supported. In fact, we use them all the time when running, walking up stairs and even plain old walking. Your gluteus stabilise the hip by counteracting gravity and maintaining proper leg alignment.

Strong glutes keep you balanced and supported, ensuring that every activity your body does is positively impacted. [3] Without them we couldn’t walk upright!

With our increasingly sedentary lifestyles  we spend a lot of time sitting so it is vitally important that we actively and mindfully work our posterior muscles.

Here are some of the benefits of stronger gluteus[4]:

  • Better Posture

  • Improved Balance and;

  • Reduced Chance of Injury

Weak gluteus and hip pain

The hip joint is one of the most powerful joints in your body, playing an important role it’s smooth and unimpeded movement.

In the case of hip flexor strains the origin of the pain is not usually at the front of the hip, but rather in the posterior hips muscles – the gluteus.[5]

[1] https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/butt-ology-101-how-to-enhance-your-gluteal-muscles
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluteus_medius_muscle
[3] http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/facts-about-glutes/slide/3
[4] https://fitstrong.co.za/why-are-strong-glutes-so-important/
[5] http://www.fitnessnetwork.com.au/resources-library/hip-flexor-strains-glutes-may-be-the-answer

Why is it so important to build a strong core?

‘Stronger abs’ or a better ‘six pack’ is a very common desired outcome when people first start a new exercise regime. Having a more defined waist line, flatter stomach and getting rid of the dreaded ‘love handles’ are sought after physical results when working the abdominal muscles.

Most movement starts at the centre and moves outwards, so aside from making you feel more comfortable in your swimmers at the beach, building a strong core can also provide you with important, long term health benefits:

  1. Help prevent injuries – building a strong core can help stabilise your body, improve your overall fitness and make you less prone to injury.

  2. Decrease occurrences of back pain – with our sedentary lifestyles we often spend hours sitting with a tilted pelvis and an arched back – this weakens our core and leads to pain in the upper and lower back.

  3. Protects your central nervous system – building a strong core helps to protect your inner organs and nervous system.[1]

Consequences of weak abs and core.

Your abs are the anchor of your spine, if they are weak then other structures, like your back muscles will have to work harder to support you. Repeated misuse of these muscles can lead to poor posture, upper and lower back pain and ultimately affect your quality of life. By strengthening your core you can prevent injuries and ensure that your movements are pain free.  

How do strong abs protect your back?

The abdominals provide significant protection against wear on the lumbar disks and back muscles. By preventing excessive rotation of the spine and promoting better posture, you control the curve of your spine and limit instances of pain in the upper and lower back.[2]

What’s the best prevention against developing back pain?

Back pain is a complex issue and there is no single reason that explains why it occurs. But there are a number of simple things you can do to prevent back pain. It’s all about reducing pressure, relieving strain and of course, strengthening your supporting muscles.

  1. A regular exercise regime that incorporates abdominal and back strengthening will help you develop a stronger and more flexible back.  A discipline such as Pilates helps to teach you the correct core–control techniques that result in improved general function and reduced back pain.[3]

  2. “If you maintain good eating habits, you not only will maintain a healthy weight, but you also will not put unnecessary stress on your body.[4]" Make sure your diet is full of fresh fruit and vegies, lean meat and diary with a focus on calcium and vitamin D will help keep your bones and spine strong.

  3. Being mindful of your posture and alignment will help keep your core engaged and prevent slouching and slumping, which is a common cause of damage to the spine and pain in the upper and lower back.

Where can you get help?

At Active Pilates, Geraldton we welcome you to an opportunity to make a difference in your body. We will introduce you to a fitness routine that suits your unique need. Our classes are designed to help you feel great and maintain life-long fitness.  All exercises are appropriate to the needs of our clients to prevent the occurrence of potential injuries. We can also conduct fitness assessments, which enable us to determine the most suitable exercises for your level of fitness and specific requirements.

You can book your initial fitness assessment with Active Pilates by visiting our website here.

“I love Pilates because it is fun, challenging, rewarding, and encouraging.”

Deb, November 2015

 

1. http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/fitness/5-reasons-to-strengthen-your-core/
2. https://yogainternational.com/article/view/no-more-back-pain-tone-the-right-abs
3. http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/core-promises-20091007-gnbv.html 4. http://www.everydayhealth.com/pain-management/back-pain/quick-tips-to-help-prevent-back-pain.aspx

 

How to overcome workout procrastination

Finding the motivation to begin or consistently maintain a healthy workout regime can be one of the biggest barriers to lifelong fitness. With our busy modern day schedules it can be a challenge to find the time to fit in a workout. To prioritise your wellbeing you need to overcome the toxic habit of procrastination.

Procrastination is essentially an emotional reaction. The more boring, ambiguous, and unstructured a task is, the more likely you are to ‘put it off’. [1]Most people recognise the importance of regular exercise and understand further the detrimental effects of sedentary lifestyles and how this impacts both your physical and mental health.

So how can you build structure and meaning  within your workout regime and overcome the burden procrastination?

Try these few simple tips:

1.    Be Realistic

Don’t kick off your new exercise regime with impractical expectations. By being realistic and setting achievable goals you’ll build the right mindset to keep you motivated.

2.    Start Small

Don’t take on too much when working out! Start small and build up to longer and more advanced exercises over time. If you bite off more than you can chew you’ll lose enthusiasm quickly!

3.    Make it Fun

Choose exercise that you enjoy. Bringing a friend or joining a group of other like-minded individuals breaks up repetitiveness and helps you to look forward to your workouts each week.

4.    Build a Habit

Schedule a specific time each week when you’ll work out or attend a class. Routine will help you break the ‘I’ll get to it tomorrow’ mentality and assist in building a healthy exercise habit.

5.    Commit to a Short Term Plan

Join a class that runs over a month.  Committing to a specific short term plan with measurable outcomes and goals will kick start your work out motivation. After a month you can re-assess what works for you.

6.    Acknowledge your Progress

Celebrate your victories, however small! Be kind to yourself and give credit where credit is due. Reward yourself with a treat that compliments your goals like new workout gear or a massage.

Active Pilates has just launched a new Unlimited Monthly Pass, exclusive to new clients for only $64!

We welcome you to come and join any of our classes and see for yourself how Pilates can help you feel great and maintain lifelong fitness.

To claim your Unlimited Monthly Pass call Katarina on 0415 128 804. 

[1] http://alifeofproductivity.com/why-you-procrastinate-10-tactics-to-help-you-stop/