Activating Gluteal Muscles

Activating Gluteal Muscles

Did you know your gluteal muscles are one of the strongest muscles in your body? The gluteal muscles are the
muscles in the back of the hip otherwise known as the bum muscles! They are responsible for extending the hip so
moving the hip backwards and then abducting the hip/leg so moving the leg out to the side. They also play an
important role in stabilising the pelvis when walking or running or when once leg lifts off the floor. They
rotate the hip as well. The muscles are divided into 3 parts – gluteus minimus, medius and maximus.

Sometimes when the gluteal muscles become tight or inhibited from overuse, lack of stretching or an injury to
other muscles, they stop doing the job they are supposed to do. The hamstrings kick in to extend the hip causing
tightness in the hamstring muscles or sometimes the muscles in the front of the hip – the hip flexors become
tight from trying to stabilise the hip. Or even the lower back muscles (lumbar extensors) can become overactive
to compensate. Everyone is different and your pattern will be different to someone else.

Tips for getting the gluts working better:

·         Footwear – good supportive footwear with arch supports will help to improve lower
limb alignment and in turn improve gluteal activations.

·         When doing squats or lunges or clams or bridging focus on the heels pressing the
heels into the floor to activate up through the back of the hip.

·         Before working on the gluteal muscles stretch through the hamstrings and hip
flexors so that the gluteal muscles can switch on better.

Top Gluteal Activation Exercises:

One of my favourite exercises to get the gluts activating is the clam. It is so simple but so effective. Try to
remember the squeeze of the heels together when doing the exercise to feel the gluteal muscles work more. Try
not to lift the knee too high just to hip height is loads – keep the movement nice and small and focus on the
quality of the movement. Set-up is key!! Being in the correct start position will help activate
through the gluts more.

Clam set up:

physiotherapist working with client in Cork clinic
  • Side-lying with knees bent
  • Feet in line with the sit bones – make sure knees NOT too far forwards.
  • Knees and hips stacked – look down to check the knees are level one on top of the other.
  • Small gap under the waist so that the lower back is in a neutral position. There should be enough room for a
    light to shine through the gap.
  • Press the heels together gently and slowly lift the top knee to hip height holding for a deep breathe in.
    Then slowly lower. How many can you do?
  • Check out our video on our video section of our website on clams to make sure your technique is correct!‍‍‍‍‍

Tricia, our Physiotherapist is teaching weekly classes to help get your body moving better. The benefits of
Pilates for core strengthening, spinal mobility, gluteal activation are huge. She combines some of the Pilates
movements into her Yoga class as a Yogalates workout.  Consistency is key when building strength.

As stated by Joseph Pilates

“In 10 sessions you will feel a difference, In 20 sessions you will see a difference and in 30 sessions you will
have a whole new body.”

To join in to some of our classes or to get an assessment done to see what areas you need to work on or improve
to maximise function and to improve movement, contact us here at Head 2 Toe Chiropractic & Physiotherapy on
021-2011159 or info@head2toechiropractic.ie