The glutes are made up of 3 different muscles – glute medius, minimus & maximus which are all found within the confines of the pelvic area. Generally speaking the glutes act to stabilize the pelvis – including both hip joints and the lumbar spine (low back).
This becomes important in people with low back pain as a lot of the time, their pain is due to a degree of ‘instability’ in the low back and pelvic areas. The pelvis can be compared to the foundations of a house, and the spine compared to the actual structure of a house. If the foundations are lay poorly or are weak, the house itself will be unstable and poorly built. The same can be said for an unstable pelvis having to provide support for the spine – the spine can become weak and inefficient.
The glutes are the muscles that are predominantly addressed when trying to create pelvic stability. It is not only possible for the glutes to be weak but also, there can be an inability to even activate them for some people. There are hundreds of glute exercises aimed at targeting the glutes, whether it be for strength or, for activation. Clinical pilates is a fantastic method to target the glutes, whether it be activating and / or strengthening them. The equipment used in a pilates studio acts as a means for assistance or resistance to target the glutes. Refer to our instagram for some awesome glute exercises which you can try at home!
The squat is an exercise that aims to target the glutes NOT the back, or the thighs. Squatting is an exercise that is performed multiple times in everyday living hence why it is known as a ‘functional’ exercise. It is also probably one of the most prescribed exercises in any gym type scenario. Despite how common squatting is, it is probably one of the most poorly performed movements whether it be in everyday life or in the gym.
Refer to the sit-to-stand or stand-to-sit movement that is used to get in and out of a chair as an opportunity to practice your squat technique.
Tips for squatting:
- Feet should be hip width apart
- The knees should aim to be behind or in line the toes – this means the shins should be as close to vertical as possible
- Aim the kneecaps to be in line with the 2nd toes, so they are not rolling in or out
- The angle of the trunk should be the same as the angle at the shins – this means, keeping the chest upright!
- When at the ‘bottom’ of your squat you should only go low enough so the thighs are parallel with the floor
- Drive up and out of your squat by digging the heels into the floor – the balls of the feet should be light (ie. you should be able to wiggle your toes around).