Do you even squat? Well, do you?
All across social media, both men and women are touting the importance of squats – and they should be. It’s not just squats they’re praising; it’s a whole list of lower body exercises designed to grow and strengthen the glutes. After all, never skip leg day!
Strengthening your glutes isn’t just about aesthetics. It’s about proper biomechanics and a healthy musculoskeletal system. So why exactly do you need strong glutes? Let’s take a closer look.
First, let’s examine the anatomy of the glutes. Notice the word “glutes” is plural. That’s because the glutes are made up of three different muscles: maximus, minimus, and medius.
When most people think of glutes, they imagine a round, well-developed rear, right? That’s the gluteus maximus making its appearance. Beyond the visual appearance of this muscle, it has an important function: external hip rotation and extension. It’s what allows us to push our hips forward – like in the concentric portion of a squat or deadlift.
Next, we have the gluteus medius. This muscle sits partially under the gluteus maximus and attaches the hip bone to the upper part of the femur. It is responsible for internal and external rotation of the hip. It’s also the chief muscle used when performing any abductor work such as band side shuffles, clamshells, or side-lying hip abductions.
Finally, there’s the gluteus minimus. It sits under the gluteus medius and is largely responsible for internal hip rotation. It also works to abduct the hips and internally rotate the leg. You use your gluteus minimus for stabilization of the hip and pelvis and when performing exercises such as clams and side planks.
As you can see, each glute muscle has an important function. So why is it important to strengthen all three?
When any of the glute muscles are lacking in strength, you increase your chance of injury and lower body dysfunction. Weak glutes cannot properly stabilize the pelvis, leading to excessive internal rotation of the femur (thigh bone). When this happens, your patella (knee cap) may begin to track outward.
What does that mean for you? Knee pain and potential damage to the connective tissue surrounding the knee.
That’s not all though. Strong glutes also help take pressure off your lower back and hamstrings during compound movements like squats and deadlifts. When your glutes can’t help your back and hamstrings support the load, you run the risk of developing debilitating strains and sprains throughout your lower body.
Enhanced Athletic Performance
If you’re going to the gym on a regular basis, chances are, you want to enhance your athletic performance. Of course, you’re probably there for aesthetic reasons as well, but that comes right along with developing strength and power.
Strength and power are two key components to performing like an athlete. This is where the glute muscles dominate. As the largest and most powerful muscles in the body, the glutes are responsible for generating tremendous power and explosiveness.
Glutes are necessary for:
- Directional change
- Jumping movements
Without strong glutes, you’ll lack the power to perform.
If you’re chasing athletic performance, building strong glutes is essential. Athletes with strong glutes will always outperform those with less developed rear ends. Period. Plus, who doesn’t want to be the best?
Strengthening Your Glutes
Forget all the crazy booty exercises you see popping up on social media. You don’t need fifty pieces of equipment to build strong, impressive glutes. Consider the greatest athletes and bodybuilders of all time; you can bet they aren’t doing cable kickbacks and kneeling squats on the Smith Machine.
What they are doing is training their glutes to withstand steadily increasing stimuli. The best thing you can do to build strong glutes is to perform compound, multi-joint exercises like:
- Hip Thrusts
Of course, you should also perform a few supplemental glute activation exercises before engaging in compound movements. What you shouldn’t do, however, is make those warm-ups the focus of your glute training. There’s a reason every successful sport or physique athlete relies on compound movements for muscular strength and development. They work.
Strengthen your glutes, and you’ll strengthen your ability to perform. Oh, and you’ll have a nice-looking butt, too. Win-win!
Ready to work on those glutes? Come to Titanz Fitness to work on a full-body transformation. See how you can start your fitness journey with a free day pass for local residents.