Siobhan Byrne... Giving a hoot for our glutes
Strong glutes will ease back pain, improve posture and make you look great in jeans
Over the next two weeks, we are going to be focus exclusively on the glute area. There are many reasons to focus on these muscles. Glutes are a large muscle group. In fact, they are the largest muscle group in the body, so working them will mean burning lots of extra calories.
More importantly, weak glutes can lead to all sorts of problems in different areas of the body, from lower back pain to bad posture, which itself can cause numerous other complaints.
The glutes are the most powerful muscle in the body, and they are responsible for keeping the trunk of the body in an upright position, so you really want to think about working them if you suffer from persistent, niggling back issues.
Isolating one muscle group is a great way of seeing if you are exercising effectively. For example, I see many people squatting and thinking they are hitting their glutes when, in fact, their position and lack of depth means they are mostly working leg muscles. Even a simple walking lunge, which should target the glutes, can be more focused on the hamstrings and quadriceps if not performed correctly.
Walking and static lunges are still great for the glutes, however, especially when you make sure to push through the heel of the leading foot. We naturally push through the middle of the toes, but doing it through the heel drives the glute into working.
Another mistake people make is lunging too wide, which strains the flexors. Instead, try and make sure to push through the heel, which will keep pressure on the glutes.
1/ Start off by standing in an upright position with your arms straight by your sides, then take a step forward into a lunge, dropping your back knee towards the floor.
2/ Push off the front foot to return to the start position, then alternate the legs.
1/ Start off this exercise on your hands and knees, while keeping your back straight.
2/ Next, simply raise one leg up into the air, with the foot of that leg pointing towards the ceiling and the leg itself bent at a 90 degree angle. After that, bring the leg back to the start positioning, then repeat.
Close stance squats
1/ Start with your feet hip-width apart.
2/ Squat back and down so your thighs are parallel with the floor.
Finally, drive through your heels and back up into the starting position. Once complete, repeat the steps.
Single leg hip extension
1/ Start by lying mid-back on a step or the floor with your knees bent and hands down by your side.
2/ Raise one leg slightly off the ground and bridge your hips, so your hips and glutes are elevated off the ground. Dip your hips down toward the ground, then push back up to bridge position.
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