In my last post I wrote about the pain, dysfunction and injuries that can be caused by weak and inactive gluteal muscles. I explained the functions of our gluteal muscles in stabilising our pelvis and supporting our hip, knee and ankle joints, along with other benefits.
During the course of my job as a Soft Tissue Therapist I meet many people with issues caused by poorly functioning glutes, but not many who want to spend lots of time at the gym or at home doing long exercise routines! Lets face it, most of us are time challenged!
So I keep things simple and show my clients a few basic exercises that they can start incorporating into their everyday lives – while cooking, working, watching television, cleaning their teeth even! And I am going to share some of these with you here.
You don’t have to do all of these exercises together, or even on the same day, but doing them regularly over and over again and doing them correctly, is key to the creation of muscle memory.
Muscle memory starts in the brain. When you do these exercises your brain will fire up the nerves that signal to the muscle fibres to kick in and perform that movement. Proprioceptors (sensors) in your muscles, tendons and joints are then activated and start sending messages back to the brain about where your body is in space. You don’t need to look down at your feet to know where they are. So your brain knows what muscles to fire next to create movement. Through this continuous feedback loop movements become automatic. This is muscle memory in a nutshell. The more you use these neural pathways, the more your muscle memory solidifies.
It is important to do the exercises correctly and fire up the right muscles so that the muscle memory leads to proper patterns of functioning, rather than repeating dysfunctional movement patterns.
These exercises are primarily to activate your glutes rather than strengthen them, although they will start this process too. There is little point trying to strengthen your glutes before you have woken them up! Don’t expect to get them perfect straight off; not many of us have perfectly functioning gluteal muscles as I demonstrate perfectly in the stairs exercise! (see if you can spot when my glutes are not doing their job!)
There are five exercises which I talk you through in the videos. They are in no particular order. Let me know how you get on and please feel free to use the comments box if you have any questions or need something clarifying.Please share if you enjoyed this post.