Three reasons to strengthen your butt

Three reasons to strengthen your butt
by Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on November 10, 2015

high lunge

Jaclyn Balan of Ruby and Pearl’s, Fort Myers, demonstrates high lunge to strengthen the glutes.

A butt is more than a shapely landscape.

There are three muscles in the gluteal package.  Starting at the top just below your hip bones is the medius.  Your maximus, the largest muscle in your body, is your seat.  The minimus is tucked underneath.

Your glutes are the roots of your stability during movement.  Regular strength work with this muscle group moves beyond the coveted derrière and into the realm of health and performance.

Three reasons to work the glutes:

  1. A healthy back and posture.

Most people pull the body with the quads when they walk. Instead, try pushing your body forward with the glutes.

According to Esther Gokhale, author of “8 Steps to a Pain Free Back,” this maintains a healthy curve in the lowest portion of the spine and holds your butt behind you. Thus, the rest of your body can stack well.

So how does one walk with the butt instead of the legs? To find it, hang on to a chair and slide one foot back in swift repetitions until you feel the burn in the gluteus medius.

Now that you found it, practice walking while squeezing your gluteus medius.

“If you are using your glutes pack, you’ll tone your backside as you walk. This strengthens your built-in wedge cushion for sitting, and you’ll have better posture,” Gokhale said.

Visit www.GokhaleMethod.com for more information.

  1. Avoid lower-body injuries

Your glutes stabilize your pelvis when you are walking or running.  If they’re weak, your lower body alignment falters, and the stress gets transferred to ankles, shins, knees and the IT band.

Modified Bridge Pose, a favorite of Estero yogi and athlete Heather Olson, can strengthen the glutes and protect the lower body.

Lie on your back with your knees bent, soles on the floor.  On the inhale, push your hips to the ceiling and hold for ten seconds.  Do ten reps.  Then, pull one knee into your chest, and lift your hips and hold.  Repeat for ten before switching sides.

  1. Enhance athletic performance

If the glutes are big players in moving the body forward, aligning the posture and stabilizing the hips and lower body, strong glutes will certainly enhance your athletic performance.  With acceleration, jumping, lunging, landing and speed control, strong glutes are essential.

“Power and speed start in the lower body, particularly in the glutes and hamstrings.  Any athlete in the field needs power,” said Heather Holland of Ruby and Pearl’s Yoga Studio in Fort Myers.  Holland also teaches baseball players with the Minnesota Twins Rookie Strength and Conditioning Camp.

Holland recommends two glute-strengthening moves: modified lunges and Chair Pose.

Take low runner’s lunge, your left knee on the floor and your right foot forward, knee in alignment with your ankle.  Lift your torso, and place two hands on your right knee.

Slowly straighten your left knee so you are in a high runner’s lunge, and hold for ten seconds before lowering the knee to the floor.  Do ten reps before switching sides.

Next, move into Chair Pose.  From a standing position, knees hip-distance apart, push your buttocks back while bending the knees as if you are sitting in a chair.  Hold for thirty seconds, and then release.  Repeat for ten reps.

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