Your gluteus muscles are the largest and most powerful muscles in your body. They work to keep your pelvis level when you’re standing, but they also work with your hamstrings to bend your hips and extend your knees.
When these muscles are weak, you may experience lower back pain, hip pain, difficulty walking or climbing stairs or knee pain. Members of my online Pilates classes know the gluteus muscles are one of my favourite group of muscles to work. Keep reading to find out why.
What Are Your Gluteus Muscles?
The gluteus muscles, aka buttocks muscles (or glutes as I like to call them) are key to improving your balance, posture, and making everyday activities easier. They are made up of 3 muscles. The gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.
Picture courtesy of Knee Pain Explained
The gluteus maximus, which is on the outside of your hip, extends from your pelvis all the way down to your lower leg. This is the largest gluteus muscle. The gluteus medius and minimus both sit inside of your hips and help stabilize you as you move around.
They all work together to stabilize the pelvis and rotate your hip.
If you think you can do squats and this is enough to build strong glutes you are sadly mistaken. It is important to work ALL glutes muscles to ensure you are getting the most power from this muscle. Keep reading for tips on the best exercises for your glutes.
What Happens When Your Glutes Are Weak?
When your glutes are weak, you may experience lower back pain, hip pain, trouble running or walking up stairs or hills. You might also find that it’s difficult to rise from a seated position without using your hands.
Two common areas we start to feel pain as we age are in our low back and knees. Keeping your glutes conditioned and strong will help take the strain off your low back, stabilize your pelvis, which helps to reduce low back pain and knee pain.
And if that weren’t enough incentive to get you working on your bum muscles, having strong glutes can also help prevent injury when running, golfing, hiking, cycling or playing pickleball! For example, you need good pelvis stabilization when playing golf and good hip alignment when cycling.
Conditioning your glutes will help to improve your performance in your everyday activities and hobbies. With strong and powerful glutes this means you’ll be able to participate in your favourite activities for years to come.
Strong Glutes Can Help With Posture
When your glutes aren’t strong enough to keep you upright, they can pull you forward instead of holding you up, which will cause back pain and poor posture. When your glutes are strong, it’s easier to maintain good posture throughout the day.
- Poor posture can contribute to back pain by placing stress on the spine and surrounding muscles.
- Good posture can ease lower back pain because it reduces strain on these areas.
- Good posture also helps your appearance by giving you better balance and alignment, so you look more confident and attractive! A win-win.
In my online Pilates classes I specifically include exercises to work the glute muscles to ensure my members are supported in their everyday activities off the mat. I also ensure we work unilaterally through the body to ensure one glute muscle isn’t firing more than the other. Working our bodies from side to side helps foster proper alignment and strength.
In conclusion, never underestimate the power of strong glutes!
Looking for an exercise routine to strengthen your glutes? Check out this 10 minutes Strong Glutes Pilates workout you can try at home today.
Christine Kirkland is a Certified Pilates Instructor offering online Pilates classes. She specializes in helping adults to increase their balance, strength, mobility and feel their best every day. Sign up for her newsletter to stay up to date on all things Pilates including fitness tips & free classes by visiting her website here.