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Glutes Glutes Glutes

glute hip strength postpartum backpain Jan 09, 2021

Glutes Glutes Glutes

“I’ve been told I need to strengthen my glutes, but they aren’t firing properly, I can’t get them to work!”

Does this sound like you?

I hear this all the time. Many individuals not just moms need to work on glutes.


1. Poor posture from carrying a baby for 9 months

Carrying a baby for 9 months can cause an anterior pelvic tilt and tight hip flexors and tight hip flexors will turn the glutes off

2. We spend so much sitting and this turns our glutes off.

When you sit often and for long periods of time your hip flexors tighten up.

Tight hip flexors prevent the activation of the glutes and when this happens, you cause compression in the lower back which can lead to back pain.

Try these two exercises to release the hips and activate the glutes. ( see video)

  1. Hip flexor release:

Start gentle with a pillow under your sacrum (area just above your tailbone), then gradually move to a larger object like a foam roller, this will give you more leverage to get a deeper stretch


  1. Frog pump:

Activates both your gluteus maximus and medius

Start first by squeezing the butt cheeks together then add in the hip lift with the squeeze.


Taking a deeper look...

Generally, this would be a good place to start, but as a kinesiologist who likes to look at the bigger picture and dive deeper, there is one more thing...

We need to consider other reasons the hip flexor could be tight and not allowing the glute to fire.

It is important to understand that the Glutes are the prime movers of the hip when walking. We want these guys to do the work first, so that the hip sits nicely in the socket, allowing all our muscles to function and fire properly.

Hamstrings are the assisters. When the hamstrings do the work first to extend the hip, they pull the hip forward in the socket and force the hip flexors to counter balance. This causes the hip flexors and the low back to become tight.

Try this Self Assessment:

(see video)

Lie face down. Place one hand on your hamstrings. Squeeze one glute and lift one leg off the floor. 

You want to feel your glute firing first, before the hamstring.

When you place you hand on your glute, can you feel it fire and get firm, even before your leg lifts off the floor? Make sure you aren't lifting your leg with a floppy bum.

Trouble Shooting if the glute is not firing 1st:

Try the above with a pillow under your hips or think of engaging your core to bring your spine neutral: It could be that when you are lying facedown you go into more lumbar extension (low back curve) and anterior pelvic tilt (pelvis tipping forward) taking your ribs and pelvis out of alignment, which would make it harder to engage your core and for the glutes to fire first.

Try engaging your core: think of pulling your pubic bone up and drawing your ribs down to pull you out of that forward tilt and into an optimal position (neutral spine)to fire the glutes.

*If you have trouble reaching your hamstring and glute, have someone palpate (touch) it for you.


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