Your glutes, aside from looking good, are necessary for proper pelvic alignment, propulsion during running and provide single leg stance support – all necessary for peak performance and overall back comfort.
When strong, your glutes help support the lower back during lifting movements and prevent knee injuries. That’s right, it’s not just healthy quads that build pain free knees.
To break it down, here are the top 3 reasons why you should be training your glutes as an athlete.
Your glutes are responsible for hip extension and flexion. When standing erect, your glutes even assist in raising your chest toward the sky, just as they do in a deadlift. Strong glutes are essential for low back health since they assist with pelvic control and thoracic movement as well. This may not sound exact, but everything is connected. When the load that the back normally takes on can be transferred to the glutes, you will immediately feel relief.
As mentioned before, everything is connected. And because your lower extremities function in a closed chain, if something goes wrong at the ankle, the imbalance is likely to travel up to the knee or even hip. And vice versa, from hip to ankle. Having strong glutes that stabilize the pelvis/hips can prevent excessive medial rotation of the femur, which can create lateral patellar tracking, a common cause of knee pain.
Aside from strong glutes assisting in deadlifts and running like mentioned before, glutes are a large culprit of acceleration, jumping and other power moves. Because the glute max is one of the largest and strongest muscles in the body, it has a lot of influence on the explosive nature of athletic performance. If you are not training your glutes properly and allow them to get weak, you will certainly find yourself less efficient than your competitors.
Try this test! Start standing in an upright position with the feet together. Lift one leg straight out in front of you a couple inches off the ground. If the pelvis of the moving leg cannot stay level with the standing leg, this can be an indication of weak abductors, or a weak glute medius.
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