5 Reasons to do Pilates for Strong Glutes
Bottom, bum, derriere, tush, rear, butt, the glutes! And that is just a fraction of the synonyms used for our glutes! But what is the big deal?
A good Pilates class will include movements of ALL the body so that your joints move effectively, muscles are used according to the movement required meaning our posture is improved and our risk of injury reduced. However, in some Pilates classes I teach online and face to face in Kingston, I will focus on a particular set of muscles or a specific area of the body.
The ‘trends’ for what makes a good bottom in society changes through time.
Currently, the larger bottom sitting on a thin body a la Kim Kardashian is deemed the ideal, leading to surgery called the BBL (Brazilian Butt Lift) which transfers fat from other parts of the body which is injected into the bottom to create a rounder shape. In the 90’s, it was all about a small, pert bottom!
However, the role of our bottom is about more than aesthetics.
Our glutes have an important part to play in our posture, our ability to move well to prevent injury and stop back pain.
The Gluteal muscles, (maximus, medius and minumus) are some of the strongest muscles in the body and they work to keep us upright, allow us to move our hips, to climb and run.
Quite often clients come to me having been told that they have weak glutes but quite often they are not weak, just inhibited.
Learning to move them and use them is a key to a healthy functioning body.
Your bottom is part of your ‘core’, or ‘centre’, and is made up of the abdominal, lower back, pelvic floor and hip muscles so when we are taking part in a Pilates class, you will be using your glutes, and being aware of the importance of these muscles will help you to improve not only your Pilates practice, but also your everyday life.
Here are 5 reasons why you should work your glutes for the sake of your body rather than how they look!
1. Better posture
Our glute muscles are designed to help keep our pelvis in a position that sets our posture up correctly. If we are not using them, our hip flexors (the muscles at the top of the thighs) will take over and this can lead to your pelvis being out of alignment. Similarly, if the glutes are not used, our shoulder muscles (latissimus dorsi) can take over and again, can lead to poor posture as well as pain.
2. Relieve Lower Back Pain
As described in the point above, our glutes help us maintain a better posture. They also work to reduce some of the stress and pressure put onto the lower back as well as helping to control the movement of the pelvis, the hips, the torso and legs. If these muscles aren’t working effectively, our lower back will take the strain leading to pain.
3. Prevent Injury
It is not just the back that will take the strain if our glutes are not working well. The glutes are the support system for the lower back and their main role is to extend the hip (bringing the leg back behind the body). If our glutes don’t do this, our body will use other muscles not intended for the purpose, such as the knees, the hamstrings and groin, leading to pain and misalignment.
4. Improve your performance in other activities
Whether you are a professional athlete, a hobby runner or just enjoy a walk in the park, stronger glutes will help you perform these with less injury and with more ease or speed. Pilates for runners will focus a lot on the glutes as they will assist you on the push off, acceleration, direction change as well as power. Whilst we may not need this as non athletes, strong glutes will allow us to do the activities with less stress on our backs and other joints in our body - win, win!
5. Anti Ageing!
Yep, here it is again. That functional reason why training now for older life is key. As a stabilising set of muscles, our glutes are key to us being able to balance, and getting ourselves up off a chair or the floor. With us living longer, we need to insure against poor mobility so that we can remain independent for as long as possible. And strong glutes will help with this.
These are just five reasons why strong glues are important. I could write more but you will have a flavour for their importance here!
So, now you have the understanding of why we need to, the next question is how do we train and strengthen the glutes?
Well, Pilates is a great place to start. Many of the exercises that we perform in a Pilates class directly benefit the glutes.
However, there are specific exercises which include: The Oyster, 4 Point Kneeling Donkey Kick, the Squat, the Lunge and the Bridge, with stretches like the hip roll and the figure of 4 being excellent too.
These exercises are frequently practiced in a Pilates class and not only train the muscle, but also the brain so that they are used when required.
If you would like to learn more, or try a class for free, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org Raise Pilates runs online and face to face group Pilates classes in Kingston, Surbiton, Berrylands, Norbiton and the surrounds, as well as one to one and private group sessions. www.raisepilates.com