International Expert in Functional Training & Calisthenics.
The 21st-century paradox,
What part of your body is at the same time one of the most glorified while being forgotten?
If you guessed it right, then you’re probably not part of this paradox or just lucky enough to guess it.
This fact bugged me, the more I reflected on it, the more I questioned in my mind.
With social media expanding such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc…appearance and looks have become a major part of today’s society. Aesthetics sells…. a lot. Let’s just take a glance at Instagram for example, what is one of the things you see the most? Glutes.
Somehow it is natural to be attracted to it, so it makes sense to make it noticeable. I won’t go into too many details on the way because it’s a huge complicated topic to make it simple (you’ll have to believe me on this one), its only (animal) instinct, our primitive part.
Now, what’s so ironic about it?
Let’s start by explaining what are the glutes?
When I say glutes, I am actually talking about three muscles.
*The Gluteus Minimus
*The Gluteus Medius
*The Gluteus Maximus (being the largest muscle of your body)
They each have different functions on their own as well as they work together.
The glutes are very powerful and strong muscles. They are supposed to be used for a lot of things. Whether it’s for dynamic or isometric movement, they should be used to protect other muscles that aren’t supposed to work as hard. They are a connector of your upper body and lower body.
Think of it as the nuclear power station that gives power to the rest of your body. Everything from walking to doing push-ups to snatching 100kg overhead is stabilized by the glutes. Without strong glutes, everything else is compromised.
You’ve probably heard the term “glute amnesia” somewhere. It is a major health problem of the 21st century. There is a big correlation between back pain and the glutes not being active enough. In fact, most of the lower back issues could be avoided by training the glutes.
There are only 2 anatomical positions where the glutes aren’t mechanically involved. One of them is obviously is for laying down. The other one is less obvious, even debatable. Sitting. Why? Simply because it serves as a cushion. It might seem silly but imagine if your glutes weren’t thick at all, how uncomfortable it would be sitting. You probably wouldn’t spend no more than 5 minutes seated.
Nowadays, about 80% of the population will suffer from back pain at some point in their life. On the contrary, glutes are also glorified in today’s society as mentioned at the beginning due to aesthetics having so much value.
You’re likely asking yourself right now:
How can the glutes be so important for looks and be a major problem simultaneously?
Simply because looks and function aren’t the same. Having glutes as big as two basketballs together isn’t a synonym of being healthy. Yet it seems that looks matter the most. And here’s the paradox: What you see as good-looking glutes are probably genetics and not well-functioning glutes.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you can’t train to improve the looks of it, but those muscles were “designed” to work in a certain way. I.e.: Your Gluteus maximus´ primary function is the extension of the hip. Movements such as quarter squatting, deadlifting with a rounded back or using a smith machine won’t fire up your glutes as they should and that is the big issue.
Most “influencers” sell good aesthetics. Which is attractive to almost everyone… unless you’re really into anatomy, biomechanics and training (that narrows it down to a very small percentage of the population) are you doing any good to yourself by trying to reproduce what they promote?
Here you have a few glute exercises you can do that will give you a health boost:
-Anterior/posterior pelvic tilt: This one is quite easy, and its purpose is more to re-educate your hips to move. Simply stand straight, that is your neutral position. Now start arching your back and then squeeze your glutes hard. You’ll notice that your hips naturally change its position by clockwise.
-Deadlift: Pick something up from the ground using your glutes. Grab a barbell, a kettlebell, a med ball, a water bottle (anything really) and lift it off the floor up to your thighs while keeping your back flat, your shins relatively straight (with soft knees) and pushing your glutes back. Strand up by reversing the process.
-Hip Thrust: Lay down on the floor with your eyes looking at the ceiling. Flex your knees so you can plant your feet on the floor. Now simply squeeze your glutes while elevating your hips as you were trying to push them to the ceiling. Think about pushing your heels into the ground as hard as you can to make sure you’re firing up your glutes.
Give it a try, if you improve their function everything else will improve as well. Guaranteed. And the looks will come with it anyways. Also guaranteed.
Get your glutes on!