UNDER ACTIVE GLUTES AND ITS LINK TO LOWER BACK PAIN

Lower back pain…sound familiar?

As a fitness professional, lower back pain is one of the most common complaints I hear from clients or potential clients. Unfortunately in this day and age, modern technology has caused a large majority of the population to become sedentary, which has forced many of us into postural alignments that our body was not designed to maintain for long periods of time. Sitting at our office desks hunched over our computers, watching television and slouching over our mobile phones, has led to an increasing number of people with ‘under active’ glutes.

Whether you are at the gym or at home, there are important exercises you should be doing to strengthen your glutes if you are looking to improve your running technique, prevent injuries, and decrease chronic pain in your lower back, hips, and knees. The glutes are made up of three main muscles; the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. These muscles play an imperative role in your body’s alignment and help to stabilise the pelvis.

For instance, the gluteus maximus is the largest muscle of the three and initiates hip extension and external rotation. Whereas the gluteus medius and minimus abduct the hip, meaning the leg is able to move sideways from the body. Another important role of the glutes is to assist and maintain the torso in an upright position. As I said earlier, by sitting for too long we are causing the glutes to become under active and therefore the hip flexors become tighter and overactive…making the situation a lot worse! With this lack of movement, your body will start to recognise those patterns as normal and you will be less efficient at performing functional movements.

Developing a strong behind is essential if you want to optimise your performance and decrease your risk for injury in your lower back, knees, groin and hamstrings. In this video below, there are a few different glute activation exercises to help improve function and reduce lower back pain. Please note that you should get clearance from a physician or physical therapist, depending on the severity of your lower back pain before completing these exercises.

Exercise 1: Lateral Walk

Exercise 2:  Monster Walk

Exercise 3: Clam Shell