While a taut, toned backside might be on your wish list, having strong gluteal muscles is important for functional as well as aesthetic reasons. Comprising of a group of muscles in the buttocks – gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus – the glutes control external and internal rotation of the hip joint, extension and abduction of the leg, and help maintain pelvic stability during activities.
Strong glutes can improve your posture, balance, and sporting prowess, while reducing your risk of injury and back pain. With such an important role, they shouldn’t be neglected. So, read on to discover five common signs your glutes could benefit from some strengthening!
1. Your glutes always feel tight
Unless you’re recovering from a squat-laden gym session, your glutes probably shouldn’t be feeling tight or sore. More often than not, chronic muscle tightness is a sign of weakness.
2. Poor posture
Posture isn’t only about a strong and stable core. Weak glutes can also cause an inability to maintain an upright posture through the trunk and pelvis.
3. Hip or knee pain
If you suffer from hip or knee pain, you might be searching in the wrong place for the cause, as it is often glute-related. Weak glutes can cause strain on the hip itself, as well as the lower down joints of the knees and even the ankles.
4. Lower back pain
If you’ve ever experienced lower back pain during bridging exercises at the gym or pilates, it’s highly likely you weren’t properly engaging your glute muscles. Weak glutes or glutes that aren’t ‘switched on’ can result in over-compensation from the lower back muscles. This can in turn cause pain and, potentially, injury.
5. Inability to maintain a level pelvis when standing on one leg
Part of the glute plays an important role in keeping a stable pelvis during single leg activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, hopping or running. Lack of pelvic stability can cause strain above or below in the kinematic chain, for instance in the lumbar spine, knee or lower leg.
If you are experiencing any of the above concerns, please call us on 9650 2220 to make an appointment to have your gluteal function assessed, and a strengthening program prescribed.
With a Doctor of Physiotherapy degree from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Science and Human Movement from Penn State, Michelle Labonia is a skilled physiotherapist with a passion for holistic patient care. Particularly interested in back and neck pain and hip and knee injury, she combines her extensive knowledge of the body and expertise in manual therapy, Clinical Pilates and dry needling to relieve pain, rehabilitate and prevent future injuries.