Our glutes don't just help us look good in jeans or our favorite bikini. Strong glutes—that is, the glute maximum, glute medius, and glute minimus, the three major muscles that form our backside—are essential to athletic performance and everyday wellbeing.
In part because so many of our jobs require us to sit in front of a computer all day, our glutes tend to be underworked and weak, and that weakness has huge ramifications for athletes, runners, and anyone who thinks back pain is a bummer.
The good news about our tendency to have weak glutes is that taking steps to strengthen them can reap some really powerful benefits, including:
Back pain be gone.
Your lower back can compensate for stabilizing the pelvis when your glutes are weak. [source] Strong glutes step in to do the work they're designed to do, taking that pressure off the back, and lessening opportunities for pain.
Stabilizing the pelvis isn't just a boon for your back: it also helps support the joints in your lower body, including your knees and ankles. Again, it's all about compensation; a stable pelvis means your knees don't have to compensate and start doing work they're poorly designed to do.
Just like your core is, well, core to a lot of stability and strength, your glutes make all sorts of movements easier: jumping, quick lateral movements, and quick bursts of speed. [source] If becoming faster, stronger, and more agile sounds attractive, well, it's time to start focusing on your rear.
Now that you're convinced about glutes being crucial to your overall health and athletic performance, here's one of our favorite moves for developing a stronger butt.
Tip: if you don't have gliders, use paper plates!
Start in bridge pose, with gliders under your heels.
Keeping your hips level, extend one leg out and back in and alternate sides.
For an extra challenge, extend both legs at the same time without dropping your hips.
Do 20 leg extensions in one set. And repeat, if you're up for it!
Of course, if anything doesn't feel right... don't do it!
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