Together, your gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus are known as the “glutes”. They’re one of the largest and most powerful groups of muscles in your body and, as you’re probably aware, they’re located in the buttocks. These muscles are not just there to be sat on. Everyone at our Newmarket physiotherapy clinic will tell you that strong glutes are vitally important in performing a lot of the body’s active movements. On the other hand, if your glutes are weak or underdeveloped, you can expect bad posture and a variety of health problems.
In our long experience as leading Auckland physios, we can tell you that weak glutes are very common, and problematic. This often happens due to inactivity because we spend most of our day sitting on our backsides. But there are other causes too. For example, after an injury to the low back, hip, knee or ankle, glutes have been known to “turn off”; this is a phenomenon that prevents further compression or pain. And after certain pain episodes, we tend to restrict movement because we fear they will cause further pain. This restricted activity leads to decreased use of muscles, including the glutes.
That’s not good because without great glutes, you can’t perform many of the movements you usually take for granted. For example, the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus act as lateral stabilizers of the pelvis and prevent it from tilting. This allows you to swing your foot clear of the ground when walking and provides a stable base for your lower back. Meanwhile, the gluteus maximus is a real power muscle as it gives you the strength you need to get out of a chair, climb stairs and walk up hills. With a weak gluteus maximus, these things will be so much harder to do, and that is something you might be noticing more and more.
Because the glutes play such a vital role in everything from mobility to posture to stability, they need to be looked after. Our physios can help you do just that as part of our services. We can access which glute muscles are weak and need the most work. We’ll then prescribe an exercise program to improve strength and endurance. Strengthening the glutes can also assist in reducing secondary problems associated with muscle weakness by helping with stability and joint function. So, looking after your butt will have benefits for the rest of your body and that’s why we’re keen to help you get your glutes in shape.