The Propel Blog

5 Reasons Core Training Should Involve Your Butt

Posted on: September 18th, 2015 by Kim Hillier No Comments

When people think of their core they primarily think of their abs (Thank you Channing Tatum…), what most don’t realize is that their butt (glutes) also plays a critical role. Here are some reasons why activating your glutes is extremely important for functional strength, performance and injury prevention.

1. The glutes are part of your core group of muscles
The glutes play a huge role in core stability, as do other muscles in the mid section of your body such as the back, quads, hamstrings, obliques, and of course abdominals. The main function of these core muscles is to stabilize the body and make movement of the arms, legs and body more efficient. Training this area is crucial because all movement originates from our core.

2. The body has to provide stability to allow for mobility
The core muscles work together to stabilize the mid-section of the body and to allow for simultaneous movement in the arms and legs as well as the body. The goal is maximum stability and mobility so that energy can be transferred and utilized for the desired movement. When there is uncontrolled movement (or poor stability), valuable energy is lost and the activity becomes very inefficient while putting you at risk of injury. Whether your goal is kicking, running, jumping, skating, swinging or throwing, or any other functional movement, the goal is the same – to have sufficient core stability to allow our movements to be more powerful and efficient, and to ultimately improve performance.

3. If the glutes are weak, other muscles have to compensate for them
In addition to being one of the primary stabilizers of the pelvis, the glutes are a large producer of power in the lower body. Weak glutes are often a missing link in many functional movements which can lead to muscle imbalances. Essentially, if one muscle or muscle group is not fulfilling its role (weak or not working correctly), the body has to make up for this somewhere else. When other muscles, such as the back extensors or hamstrings, have to compensate for this, they become overworked causing fatigue. This often leads to poor performance and injury.

4. Quality of movement is always more important than quantity
Glute activity is strongest during high power activities such as sprinting and jumping, followed by running and climbing, and finally walking. However, if one muscle is not fulfilling its role, another will try to compensate and do the work for both of them. So, if you start with a high skill level or high resistance activity without activating the correct muscles, you are basically doing repetitions to strengthen muscles the wrong muscles. Try exercises which specifically activate the glute muscles, such as bridging and clamshells, to ensure you are activating your glutes before doing higher intensity activities (ie, jumping, sprinting). This movement prep can help reassure you are using your glutes when you train.

5. You don’t have to lift heavy to get strong glutes
The more you activate your glutes during daily activities the stronger the brain-muscle connection will become. This increased number of repetitions, or high volume training, can be very effective in building muscle size and endurance. It is also important to consider the effectiveness of the exercise, regardless of how much weight someone is using to complete a squat or deadlift, if the glutes are inactive, they are not getting stronger (the quads on the other hand, that’s a whole other story). If you’re unsure where to start with your glute or core training, consult with a physiotherapist. We’d love to help you build a better butt!

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