Taking care of your glutes is essential to protect yourself from back pain. The glutes are the biggest single muscle group in the body, so they are the most important. They're the muscle you use the most. The changes that happen to the body as a result of having weak glutes are really, really significant. From about the age of 35 we start to lose muscle tone generally, but our glutes are particularly vulnerable. And that is bad news for our backs. A weak bottom has an enormous knock-on effect to the biomechanics of your body. Having weak glutes can cause a mechanical shift in the way the bones [the lower vertebrae] sit, which is what causes lower-back pain.
Strengthening your gluteal muscles has the biggest impact when it comes to preventing or recovering from lower-back pain. If the glutes are weak or inactive there will be strain through your back, aggravating a disc or nerve, or you'll be working the muscles in your back much harder to try to stabilise your pelvis, leading to niggling back pain or postural back pain.
The gluteus maximus controls the movement of hip and thighs, and the gluteus medius controls the movement of your pelvis. Without the stability provided by these strong muscles, there's a mechanical overload - the pelvis doesn't stay level and that has all sorts of effects on the rest of the body, with painful lower back, hips or knees. I
f your glutes don't stabilise you're constantly squeezing different bits of your back, leading to pain and long-term injuries.
Weak glutes are often the result of our sedentary lifestyle.
When you're sitting, your glutes are lengthened, but inactive. Your hip flexors tighten and pull your pelvis forward, which increases that lengthening. So as you sit for a long time, your glutes become weaker and ineffective.
That stiff, hard-to-walk feeling that you get when you rise from long hours working in front of a screen is the sign that your glutes have clocked off, because they have not had to work to maintain your posture.
Exercise is key to strengthening the glutes, and particularly Pilates which soon strengthens your
bottom and core. Within
two weeks of doing regular glute exercises you should notice a difference.
But please remember, it's all about posture, flexibility, pain management, structural strength and overall health too. Please ask your teacher if you need any advice. Or you may prefer to have a private session with Marcia who can be contacted on 0778 900 3284.
Graham and Marcia