Gluteus Maximus: Our most powerful power generator

Ok let’s stand!

Clench your fists tightly and then do the same with your backside. Come on! Really squeeze them tightly!

Hold this for 15 seconds.

Now that’s what I call a Glut turn on:)

Some of you may feel like a cramp coming on. Some may feel that they are not engaging at all, whilst others will be as firm as a pumpkin. Well…it should be.

This muscle group is THE connecter of your legs to your back. If this is not taking on board the load from the weight of gravity and your own body weight then your lower back will start to over work; weakness sets in and inevitably pain will ensue.
An overloaded joint or muscle will become neurologically deficient and therefore vulnerable to the excessive forces placed upon it.

The Gluteus Maximus when optimally balanced with its opposing muscles in the front (the psoas major and minor) will protect and stabilize your hip and lumbo-pelvic girdle more than any other of the big power generators. Getting this muscle group aligned, flexible and stable and then functionally strong will stand you all in very good stead!

Think of it this way. You move around 3 axis. The Gluteals enable your pelvis to move in perfect balance between the front and back, left and right and finally side to side. This huge wrap around muscle group distributes the forces and power through your core to the rest of your body. In my experience, this is where your core really begins and sits.

We hear so often about the traumas of sitting more than 40 to 50 minutes at a stretch. This is due to the switch off caused by the stretch reflexes being gradually turned off.
Anatomists refer to it as a kind of amnesia. They forget what they are there to do: connect our legs and hips to our back.

If your Gluteals are out of balance and you are not utilising both sides with the correct force and stability because you are standing all wrong, it is only time before your low back starts to hurt, and then you try to do your favorite lunge or squat and you cannot seem to find the right form. Your knees are turned in and your hips are rotated forward.

The Gluteals control the position of the pelvis. All the other 28 hip and pelvic muscles follow suit.

It is a societal norm to slouch and stand lazily, shoulders all slumped, the back over rounded, head poking forward, weight gets shifted onto one or the other hip and feet get flared out and arches totally flattened.

When you frequently stand that way, your body gets adaptively ‘stuck’ in that position.
Your hips seem to return to that shifted position and your shoulders stay slumped. It becomes the real you. How on earth do we get out of this terrible slack-alex look?

You go to the gym to try to fix it. Your compromised stance causes your hips and shoulders to become tight and dysfunctional over time. And that stiffness leads to immobility, making it impossible to use correct form in most of the movements you do. Frustration sets in and oftentimes injuries occur due to the compensation that the body so naturally does. Lift with bad form and you not only get a smaller return on each rep—which means less strength gains and less fat loss—but you also increase your risk of soft tissue “myofascial pain syndrome” as it is now called.

If your hips lack their full range of motion and you can’t get into a low squat position then your pelvis and spine will tend to lean forward from the pelvis which in turn puts huge strain on your lower back and hip structures triggering serious sidelining injuries like disc and joint compressions.

Correcting your posture and improving your range of motion by identifying the restricted tissues and joint structures will prevent any of this from happening. When you achieve this optimal position, you can so easily engage and turn on those vitally important Gluteals.
See what a difference simple things like walking and running, swinging a golf club and even carrying your kids will be.


Point your knees and feet forward
The “ideal” way to stand is with your feet forward instead of flared out. Your second toe and the middle of your knee as well as the bone on the top of the pelvis ASIS should all be aligned and pointing in the direction you are going in. Your Glutes and abs are slightly contracted, and shoulders externally rotated with fingers pointing forward. Not the back of the hand! Try to maintain this position for as long as possible whenever you are on your feet. Your knees and joints in general will thank you in the long term!

February 15, 2016

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