The gluteal muscles are some of the strongest and largest muscles of the body, yet in today’s society they tend to be underdeveloped and weak. Having weak glutes can lead to all kinds of dysfunction and pain. This pandemic is known as gluteal amnesia.
What are the Gluteal Muscles?
The gluteal muscles are made up of gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. The function of the biggest of the three muscles, gluteus maximus, is hip extension. It also assists in keeping the body upright, an important factor for bipedalism (walking upright).
What is Gluteal Amnesia?
Gluteal amnesia is when the gluteal muscles no longer fire off or “activate” properly. As compensation, the hamstrings and lumbar erectors (low back muscles) will fire instead when trying to extend the thigh back.
What causes it?
The lack of gluteal activation is generally due to compressive forces, such as sitting all day either at work, commuting, or at home on the couch watching TV. As other muscles begin to take the workload of the largest and strongest muscles in the body, we start to develop injuries related to low back and knee pain such as disc herniation, piriformis syndrome, iliotibial band syndrome, and patellofemoral syndrome. As the old saying goes, “if you don’t use it, you lose it”.
What can I do to prevent/fix Gluteal Amnesia?
Start by getting off the couch! Sitting on your butt all day certainly isn’t going to fix the problem. There are a number of exercises that are great for strengthening the glutes, such as squats, lunges, dead-lifts, bridges, clam shells, sumo squats, one legged squats… the list goes on. The important thing to remember however is making sure that they are firing. While performing these exercises try putting a hand on the glutes to feel the contraction so that more attention is drawn to the area. Something simple and easy to start with is getting your glutes to fire off while walking. While walking, as you swing your one leg forward, concentrate on keeping the heel of the stance leg on the ground as long as possible before allowing it to come up and become the swing leg. Did you feel that gluteal contraction? If yes, good; if no, you may need a little help from your RMT.
Book today with Clayton Giles RMT for an assessment, massage treatment and post treatment exercises to get your glutes firing! 604-974-8999