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  • Writer's pictureShyla Mesch

Don't let them be Lazy - The glute story

Updated: Jul 13

The glutes are essential to everything that we do. We sit on them (make them lazy), they help us propel while we walk (hopefully, or back pain may be a thang n your life)! Strong glutes aren't a "want" they are actually a "need". Keeping them in optimal condition can really propel us into reaching fitness and health goals. Without proper or adequate engagement, we may suffer from various things such as back, hip, knee, or ankle/foot pain.

We'll briefly go over anatomy of our glutes and how each of them ties into the back and helps control what happens at the knee!

We have 3 glute muscles:

Gluteus Max

Glute Med

Glute Mid

We'll focus on each muscle and how they can affect other areas of our body if they are not strong and active

.Glute max is the most superficial and is the largest muscle in the body. This muscle performs hip extension as it's primary movement but it also performs external rotation or rotation of the hip (as shown below). It's one of the strongest muscles in our body (or should be) and from an evolutionary stance, the reason why we stand upright. One of the best exercise to focus on this muscle is a forward step up, as it moves us actively through the full range of motion from lengthened to shortened or from weak to strong!

If you are someone that sits for a majority of your day for work....then a little time spent on glute strengthening is pivotal. When seated, the hip is flexed (lengthened or weaker glute position) and the weight through the glute itself can deactivate them and decrease circulation. This all makes it difficult for them to activate and turn them on during our movements or exercise/fitness routines. This is a big reason why it is generally recommended to get up and walk, every hour or so to keep these muscles firing and the hip flexors mobile.

If we have glute weakness it can bother your back because our back muscles can try to provide extension and this can cause excess tension in the lower back muscles. If you have low back pain it can also help to support back stability along with core engagement.

Hip External Rotation Movement Hip Extension Movement

** Both of these are great desk breaks that can be done throughout your workday while pouring some coffee or chatting with a co-worker.

Glute medius is our main hip abductor and is responsible for stabilizing our pelvis during our walking or standing on one leg. A fun exercise to focus on strengthening this muscle would be is side plank with a dip to really tie the side butt to the opposite oblique muscle.

Glute medius training is key for improving things like IT band issues, generalized knee pain, as well as helping ease back pain and protect it from future injury or wear and tear.

The glute med helps to stabilize our pelvis during weight bearing activities (and the spine rests on the pelvis... we are making some connections now)!. It helps us not to sway or dip as we walk or move our hips in general. If you notice that you sway or if while you're squatting your knees collapse inward, there is a a good chance you glute medius weakness could be the culprit.

This is a simple hip abduction movement. Notice the hips are level and the oblique is coming into play to help stabilize and move the spine.

Glute min is similar to glute med and it stabilizes the hip and performs hip abduction (As shown above). There are two sections of the muscle, the front (or anterior) aspect of the muscle which reduces stress into the hip and is responsible for helping to prevent falls and the back portion (or posterior aspect) which covers the top of the head of the hip bone, the femur. This means that it is a deep stabilizer muscle for our hip and can help to improve overall stability in the hip. Best exercise to focus on both parts of the muscle is resisted Abduction-extension movement.

Glute min will always work in synergy with glute med so most movements that you do to strengthen one will strengthen the other.

Now that we've gone over how and why to strengthen your glutes- we hope that you are able to add these exercises into your exercise program!

Give these a these a try!!!

Stay strong!

If you need some help finding those muscles or deciding if they are part of your pain or dysfunctional movement. Give us a call or click here to to make an inquiry and we will call you back as soon as possible!

Resources: study that shows the connection between falling and glute med and min weakness.


Inacio M, Ryan AS, Bair WN, Prettyman M, Beamer BA, Rogers MW. Gluteal muscle composition differentiates fallers from non-fallers in community dwelling older adults. BMC Geriatr. 2014 Mar 25;14:37. doi: 10.1186/1471-2318-14-37. PMID: 24666603; PMCID: PMC4101852.

Glute max study:

Neto WK, Soares EG, Vieira TL, Aguiar R, Chola TA, Sampaio VL, Gama EF. Gluteus Maximus Activation during Common Strength and Hypertrophy Exercises: A Systematic Review. J Sports Sci Med. 2020 Feb 24;19(1):195-203. PMID: 32132843; PMCID: PMC7039033.

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