TAKING CARE OF YOUR ASS(ETS)

 

Having a strong butt is important in many ways which go far beyond looking good in your favorite pair of jeans. So many of us have jobs that require us to be sitting for long periods of time or sitting in classes all day long at school. This weakens the muscles (the glute maximum, glute medius, and glute minimus) in our largest muscle group better known as the glutes. When we are in this constant form, your hamstrings and lower back muscles end up doing the work to maintain proper hip function. Which in turn often leads to the dread pancake butt look. We need to continue to engage, activate & build our glutes so they don’t “turn off”. Our backside is responsible for extending, abducting, externally rotating and internally rotating our hips—which controls our day to day movements like changing directions, walking, jumping, sprinting etc. By keeping your glutes in shape you are providing yourself multiple benefits which will continue to serve you in the long run.

BENEFITS OF STRONG GLUTES:

 

1. REGULATES YOUR FLOW- Any sort of regularity when it comes to that time of the month is appreciated. We are already hyper stressed, emotional or whatever else as a result so being able to be in some type of control is welcomed. According to the US Natural Library of Medicine, "women with lower waist-to-hip ratios have fewer irregular menstrual cycles and ovulate more frequently." That pretty much translates to the importance of your hip measurements- which your butt definitely plays a part in. So since your hip is measured at its largest point it only makes sense that strengthening your backside would result in also helping your regulation.

2. PREVENTS KNEE PAIN- Everything is connected in our bodies so it should come as no surprise that keeping your hips and glutes strengthened is key in keeping your knees protected. Staying seated all day long sitting on your backside for extended periods of time can weaken your glute muscles. As it  causes a collapse in your kinetic chain that could potentially flare up as knee pain. Implementing squats, lunges and hip flexor stretches into your fitness routines at least 2-3 times a week has been shown to create stronger glutes. Which will offer the best protection for you knees and help you recover much faster if you were to sustain an injury.

3. STRENGTHENS YOUR CORE-  Believe it or not you need, you actually need a strong butt in order to get a strong core, even a strong back (but more on that later, down below!) Your glutes attach to your pelvis and they need a stable surface from which to generate power. Your core provides that stability. so when you are working out your backside it's a double whammy. Your core is gonna benefit which will benefit you in many other ways too. Strong core muscles are key for athletes or those of you are into running as under developed core muscles can lead to fatigue much more quickly, weaken your stamina and endurance while making you much more susceptible to injuries. In addition weak core muscles will lead you down the poor posture path increasing your chances of lower back pain and muscle strains. 

4. IMPROVES YOUR POSTURE- Your spine needs to have the correct support in order to stand and walk tall. Without it, it can lead to a hunched over/back look which is not ideal and definitely not healthy. Either is that slumped, slouchy (only l ideal when styling tube socks!) look while sitting. When your spine starts to receive this needed support (thank you strong glutes!) your pelvis will stabilize as a result. These are key to improving to your posture. A  few exercises to engage your glutes and create better balance include a single leg bridge, side lunges and walking side to side with a resistance band around your ankles.

5. PREVENTS BACK PAIN- Your back (especially lower) relies on your glutes and core in order to not be over stressed which can result in muscle injuries. Without a strong butt and core to back it up, all the pressure of picking up something heavy or performing any exercise falls to your lower back. This is too much strain on the lower back and will definitely lead to pain, misalignment or more serious injury over time. As we learned in the core section above, your back, core and butt all work as one unit. They need each other to be strong in order to function properly and keep each part protected. Keep in mind going forward its your abs and ass that protect your back best so engage those glutes, like your back depends on it cause it does!

6. KEEPS YOUR HIPS ALIGNED-  So just like your core and back, your hips are a part of the equation as well. Keeping your hips properly functioning goes hand in hand with having glutes that are healthy and in shape. Sara Lewis, a celebrity trainer and founder of "XO Fitness" in Los Angeles, says: "Your hip flexors (the front side of the hip), your hip extensors (the backside of the hip), and your psoas muscle (extending from your ribcage down your thigh) all conspire to keep you walking/running/jumping/squatting/lunging in a beautifully wondrous and flexible way." If you want to keep doing these things pain-free (and to build and maintain your butt strength and hip mobility) Lewis recommends sumo squats.

7. BOOSTS OVERALL ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE- No matter what sport you are playing, fitness class you are taking or workout you participating in you need a set of powerful glutes that are going to get you through it. As they are responsible for "accelerating, decelerating, changing directions and creating explosive power in jumps." They are also responsible for effective hip extension. A strong butt will ensure you don't stress out your muscles unnecessarily and strain them in the process. According to Michele Burmaster, trainer and president of Body Positive Fitness Alliance, your glutes "are responsible for initiation and acceleration of movement and rotation and stabilization of the hips. You can think about your glutes as the connection between your upper and lower body — they help keep your back and core stabilized, and they're responsible for propelling your legs and body when you move." Without the power of your glutes to get you through it, these movements could be unattainable or very weak which can result in injury over time. Strong glutes are also needed to do even mundane activities such as sitting or standing. On the days you don't feel like working out, and you are just on that Netflix and chill vibe you still need your glutes to be in tip top shape!! Why? Cause a strong backside provides a nice lil cushion for you to rest on while on the couch, making it a much more comfortable experience and allows you to sit for longer periods of time without feeling restless.

8. STRENGTHENS YOUR BALANCE-  Most simply put, strong glutes are what you essentially keep you standing up right. As Morit Summers, NCSA certified personal trainer states: "The muscles in your butt work in tandem with your core to help stabilize and support your spine while you sit, stand, and move". It's imperative that you continue to build up your glutes so you don't collapse.

 

 *please note that I am/we are not professional doctors and the advice given here is either based on our own experience or research and solely for informational use to be used at your own discretion. It is in no way to substitute a professional diagnosis, consultation or review

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Words by Meg Vora