To function its best and stay healthy, your spine needs help from other bodily structures and muscle groups. One of the greatest supports for the spine is the gluteal muscles. This muscle group acts as a stabilizer for your spine, and when they are weak, you may experience pain and irritation. Keep reading to learn how to strengthen your spine from the glutes up!
What are the glutes?
Your gluteal muscle group plays a huge role in stabilization and is made up of three muscles: the gluteus minimus, the gluteus medius and the gluteus maximus. If any of these three muscles are weak, you may suffer from dysfunction or pain in your lower back, knees or hips.
These muscles help our thighs and hips move properly, and you use them every time you get up from a chair, stand up straight or climb a flight of stairs. They propel our bodies back and forth and from side-to-side while keeping us stable and balanced.
What are signs my glutes may be weak?
Signs of weak gluteal muscles include pain in the lower back, a difficulty standing on one foot, abnormal gait and knee pain.
How can I strengthen my glutes?
These three simple exercises can effectively strengthen your glutes and help them better support your spine. Doing them regularly can help “awaken” your muscles and boost their functioning.
Clam shells: Lay on the floor on your side with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle, stacked on top of each other. To prevent rocking back and forth during this move, rest your upper hand on the floor to stabilize yourself. Place your lower hand under your head. Suck your navel in towards your spine and tighten your core as you slowly raise your top knee as high as you can. Do not shift your hips or pelvis, and keep your lower leg still. Hold the position for three to five seconds, then slowly bring your knee back to the starting position and repeat this move 20 times before flipping over and working on the other side.
Glute bridges: Lie on the floor on your back (use a yoga mat for added comfort!). Place your arms down beside you and put your palms down on the floor. Bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor. Next, raise your buttocks and tighten your calves to create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. This is the bridge! Hold the position for as long as you can, up to 10 seconds, without swaying or sagging. Repeat 20 times for a set.
Hip extensions: Stand behind a dining room chair and keep your shoulders, knees, toes and hips square off to the back of the chair. Take your left leg and extend it toward the space behind you. Aim to straighten your leg and keep it in line with your hip. Hold this pose for seven seconds, then slowly bring your leg down to the starting position. Repeat this move ten times, then do it on the left side.
Chiropractic and your glutes
Like every other system, tissue, organ and cell in your body, your gluteal muscles receive info from your nervous system. They function their best when this communication is clear. If you have weak glutes and experience back pain, we can help restore communication and give you more tips for building strength and increasing communication. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and improve your quality of life!