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Why our Glute Muscles Matter

Why our Glute Muscles Matter

Our glutes (aka booty)- they are so important for a variety of reasons. 

Not to mention we all want good ones, right???

However our booty is so much more important to our daily lives than just how it looks in jeans. The  muscles that make it up play an important role in movement every day.

Our booty is made up of 3 essential muscles that are known as the glutes. We have the gluteus maximus which is the primary mover, the glute medius and glute minimus. Together they all help to extend and rotate the hip in and out. 

Our glute max helps extend your leg back and outward as well as help with rotation of the leg outward.

The medius helps with in and out rotation of the leg and the minimus basically aids with that too (to keep the explanation short 🙂 ).  They also work together to protect the lower back, spine and pelvis (when they are strong).

Oftentimes pain in the lower back, neck, and knees can all indicate weak glutes. Muscle imbalances are common in many adults, especially if you tend to sit alot or do not do much if any strength training. 

Overcompensation in other areas is a result. Simply put this means you put pressure on the wrong muscles when the primary muscle that should be doing the work (in this case the glutes) is not working properly.

So What Do We Want To Work On To Help?
First you want to be sure you can get an eccentric glute load, meaning being able to feel the glutes lengthen when squatting or hinging. If they cannot lengthen then they will never be able to relax and contract in a way where you can load them and strengthen them correctly.

Squatting :

  • When you Squat you are allowing your hips to go back and down while letting your glutes lengthen and support the hip. Then you let them contract on the way up.

Hinging:

(think dead lift or bending over)
  • You want to allow your hips to go back without allowing them to go down as much (depending on the type of deadlift you are doing). With this move you need full lengthening again or you will take some of the blunt in your back. This happens because your pelvis will begin taking over due to possible imbalances in your deep hip rotators or simply tightness (both of which can be fixed with practice and work!).
  • A great way to try this is to stand in front of a wall and allow hips to hinge back until your butt hits the wall. Keep your weight in your heels and big toe. As you are bending over your glutes go back then your upper body (maintaining a neutral spine). You can bend your knees a little bit once you feel those hamstrings stretching too.

How To:

Things to look out for – 

If you have lower back pain:

It could be because you tend to clench your glutes when standing this can cause an issue with learning how to load in extension. Simply pay attention to how you stand throughout the day, and try to relax!

You could be dealing with tightness in your hips. This can cause your hips to not be able to push back as far as they can or should. Simple hip stretching exercises can help and working on true glute activation can help strengthen your hips. 

Your core may be weak – if this is the case starting with something like learning to breathe properly can go a long way. Just keep practicing. It takes time! This blog can help if ya need it!

If you have knee pain:

You may be leading with your knees! Ensure that you are sitting back when you squat.

Pay attention to your feet, are you going more onto your toes or heels? Heels are key!

Do some glute activation work before you start to do full movements. Turn those suckers on first!

Now lets talk about Activation:

Bridging –

It is essentially a form of hinging but easier to isolate glutes and get them to fire. 

Perform the movement by –  laying on your back you will place hands by your sides slowly lift hips up keeping spine neutral and working to squeeze glutes at the top of movement, Drive through heels and keep big toe down. Hinge hips back down and repeat.

Banded lateral walks:

Place a band slightly above the knees. Stand hip width apart and keep feet facing forward. Leave a soft bend in the knee and slightly hinge hips back (key word slightly). Step to the right side and keep tension in the band, return back to start leading with the left foot. Repeat for a few rounds until you feel the burn in the side of that booty! (here are my favorite bands – glute bands)

Slow squats

You can use a band over your knees if you wish or practice without. Hold onto something to be able to keep neutral spine and focus first on breathing. Sit back into the squat keep your spine neutral without looking down. Aim to keep weight in heels and core engaged by keeping big toes down. Go slow and slightly press out on band with knees. Feel the stretch in glutes then stand up and squeeze to the top. Repeat.

Slow hinges:

To learn – stand slightly in front of a wall and plant feet. Breathe deep first and focus on letting hips hinge back then follow with lowering of the upper body while keeping a neutral spine. Once you feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings you can bend knees slightly to go a little deeper. Slowly start to contract glutes as you stand back up. Repeat.

 

 

All of these movements should always start with bodyweight then move into adding more external resistance. Build up and progress and do not compare yourself to others.

If you want a whole video on just squatting and how it can help – check this out – 
Achieving optimal glute strength will not only help prevent lower back pain, hip pain and knee pain but it will also help us really ensure we are protecting ourselves when we move during every day life.
All of these exercises can be incorporated to different parts of your cycle and workout routine/plan. For example during your menstrual phase it would be ideal to do more activation and stretching where as during your follicular you would and could focus on lifting heavier and doing more explosive movements to help really build the muscle up.
Bottom line is our glutes are important. We need them to work properly to help us live pain free and get more results in our workouts and in daily life.
You can also check out training programs here – https://candicecfit.com/virtual-training/
Four Week At Home Workout Program

Four Week At Home Workout Program

This time in our world is just crazy. Never in my life did I think something like this could happen. I am sure you somewhat agree….

With “social distancing” and trying to really stay healthy we are going to not be in gyms and more than likely aiming to get creative at home. Going virtual possibly or working with trainers or friends remotely. This is exactly why I created this program. For those of us who may not have much equipment at home or maybe no fancy bike…. This program is for you if you are at a loss of what to do, are at ANY fitness level (there is a beginner, intermediate, advanced program). You need minimal equipment and if you do not have something you can omit it, OR if you DO have something you can add it. It is simple but will help us stay on track.

There is a schedule to follow each week (this is four weeks long just in case!).

There are descriptions of each workout and exercise along with photos and some videos (link in the photo of the exercise bank).

You get 4-5 workouts a week broken into cardio and strength along with stretching.

So again no matter the fitness level, one of these can work for you! And for only $30 this is a STEAL……  a month of workouts for less than you would pay for most gyms (and no plan mind you). You can totally lose weight with this- but if you want a little extra help I am also offering a consult via skype or Google hangouts to help you with that and if you are interested in cycle syncing as well. If you are interested in adding that on you can do so when purchasing or simply reach out to me and let me know and we can set it up! Again I hope this gives you a little hope and can help you stay focused. We will ALL get through this! Stay healthy guys! C

Get it below! (and ps use code CHANGEUP to save $10 at checkout!)

 

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Our Core aka Our Bodies Foundation

Our Core aka Our Bodies Foundation

IT’S MORE THAN JUST A SIX PACK! When you think of your core what do you think of? Those pictures of models with rock hard abs then you find yourself  thinking you could never achieve that? Do you classify it as the worst part of your body? Where you used to be small, but now not so much? Or do you consider it your foundation, the trunk, the stability portion of your body….?

If you chose the last one then this post isn’t for you because you already know the deets :). However if you didn’t then keep on reading, (and no shame in that! I defintely was there early on in my career, all I wanted was rockhard abs and did 1000 crunches a day…. Seriously ).


Today I want to shift your  mindset so you can understand how truly important our core is to us.. I will try to make it simple and not get too complex with all the big words :).


To start lets talk about what our core really is:

Bottom line it is our foundation. Its the area that provides stability for our ENTIRE body, its support for when women have a growing baby inside, essentially its where we can and want to be really strong (with that said though when I say strong I do NOT mean tense all the time). It consists of essentially over 20 muscles that help stabilize the lumbo-pelvic- hip complex and provide the FOUNDATION to our spine and help our kinetic chain move properly. One way to think of it is by asking, “ would you build a house without its foundation first?” Didn’t think so!

It is made up of multiple layers starting with-

  • Transverse Abdominis,

    • or TVA – it acts a sheath to our spine and provides a foundation to our spine. This is an area we can work when we are doing stabilization activities, breathing exercises, etc.

  • Diaphragm

    • its is a skeletal muscle that is located at the base of the ribs and top of the abdomen. It is actually a major component of respiration and in creating abdominal pressure, filling our lungs and helping us relax.   It is located under our ribs and works with breathing to engage and strengthen some core muscles as well as our pelvic floor. It also benefits us by helping us relax. It works along with the abdomen and pelvic floor to apply pressure and strengthen the abdomen and supporting muscles of our spine.

  • Internal obliques

    • lie right above the TVA and are part of the abdominal wall. They have two major functions; helping with respiration as they act as the opponent to the diaphragm by compressing the abdomen muscles during exhalation helping reduce air in the chest. As well as helping us bend and rotate working with the external obliques.

  • Multifidi

    • are also part of our abdominal wall or cannister if you will providing support to the back. They help support the joints that support our spinet. They are deep and help reduce pressure on our spine so our weight can be distributed evenly.

  • Spinal erectors

    • help us stand straight and also assist when we bend our spine (think touching our toes). They work along with pelvic muscles, glutes and hamstrings to bring us back to standing.

  • Pelvic Floor

    • It consists of multiple muscles and is essentially the bottom of the cannister working with the diaphragm to help with releasing and controlling pressure within the abdomen. It also provides the base to our spine.

  • Rectus Abdominis

    • This is the one we see and think of with a six pack.  They helps us bend and stand straight (support in the front).

  • External obliques.

    • N outer layer of our core on the sides of the rectus abdominis, but work with our internal obliques to help us bend and rotate.

  • Serratus Anterior

    • Although this may not be thought of as a “core muscle” as it is located under the shoulder blade it is vital in posture which in turn can help support the spine. So training it is important too!

  • Glutes and Hamstrings

    • Just like the serratus these muscles work with the pelvis, spine and hips to help with movement so they need to be strong in order to have a well balanced kinetic chain to help with functional movements and provide spinal stability.

Bottom Line :

As you can see there is alot more to it than just the muscles we see. Due to the importance of all these muscles and their roles in our foundation and movement patterns we can see why if some are weak and some are strong we have problems that run through our kinetic chain (which means our muscles head to toe) out of balance. This can also lead to injuries. We need to train it all in various ways to improve movement patterns and our pain and stiffness.

This is also  why we cannot go by all the workouts, all of the stuff we see online. We need to build our bodies from the inside out if you will and THEN we can do all the cool workouts without having to worry about injury.

How to train it:

Literally start breathing as step one – deep breathing that is. This engages our diaphragm, our ribs, our TVA, internal and external obliques, our multi fidi, and our pelvic floor. Those are some of the most important and neglected muscles. This simple exercise can be done anywhere and anytime of day. Not to mention it helps us relax and get out of that stressed out shallow breathing pattern many of us do day in and day out.

One of my favorite exercises to work your core- Check it out!

 

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