Alan Tyson, physical therapist and owner of Architech Sports, has a news flash: if the average gluteless, bench press-addicted, weekend warrior (or the average runner for that matter) would begin an intensive program of squats and lunges, they would increase the size of their glutes (and here’s the real news flash…) this would be a GOOD thing!!
It’s funny, in fitness we are usually trying to lose something, Tyson says, and most of the time it seems to be around the waist. However, the truth is that many people, while they could lose a little in the front, could really gain a little on the backside. Remember adding some to our backside is a good thing (think roundness, not width). Tyson jokingly says he is waiting to see a sign on a milk carton…”Missing – lost glutes…last seen before freshman year in college!”. Seriously though, it is only a matter of time before our glutes lose their shape (unless we work on them).
Tyson observes that many people do not “fill out their pants properly”, and he says this is a much worse condition than simply not fitting well into a pair of jeans. This is because strong glutes affect so many other things. Low back pain expert Stuart McGill, author of Low Back Disorders, implicates “gluteal amnesia” for debilitating back pain and other physical ailments. When we ignore the glutes, the body will use other muscles to do what the glutes SHOULD be doing, resulting in inefficient performance and often some type of pain or injury. For athletic purposes, exercises like the squat are, and should be, used primarily as glute strengtheners. While other muscles like the quads and hamstrings can be developed, according the those at Higher-faster-sports, the glutes should always be dominant. However, it is possible to be relatively strong and be able to move a lot of weight without using your glutes effectively. For some really thorough information on ways to not only strengthen your glutes, but also to “activate” them when doing other kinds of exercises, visit higher-faster-sports.com
The truth is we sit too much, take too many elevators, and frankly just ignore our backsides when we do exercise. The cure for gluteal amnesia is simple, really… Squats, lunges, one-leg squats, split squats, and hip extension exercises. If we do these at least a few times a week, we can begin to see an improvement in the way we fill out our jeans…and remember, this IS a good thing!