NickC has written a piece on glutes and why he thinks they are so damn important.
We’re in the middle of running season at the moment, which means there’s a lot of people coming through our cbd physio doors with all sorts of injuries that are stopping them training for the big race in a few weeks, hindering them planning for an event later in the year, or just proving to be a pain in the butt for trying to get out for a run.
A lot of the problems I’m seeing with runners at the moment is giving people grief around their hips. The most common complaint is something like “I can’t seem to get my glutes to fire”.
This is a really common problem and not just in runners. Lots of people now know how important strong glutes are in getting your pelvis and hips to work well. This has resulted in people trying to target their glutes with a variety of exercises in the gym with particular emphasis on ‘squeezing their glutes’ at the top of the squat, deadlift, or whatever they’re doing.
Unfortunately, this results in people gripping their butt muscles, not their glutes.
Butt gripping uses the small muscles around your hips and not your big glute muscles. This creates a lot of movement problems for people that already have issues with how their hips and pelvis move. Undoing this movement pattern has been a common theme in getting people running and moving happily again.
How do you know if you’re gripping your butt? And what do you do to stop it? Read on to find out!
Gripping your butt often comes with a few postural changes that are easy to pick up when standing (please note that these changes aren’t always because of gripping your butt, there can be other causes):
· Do you stand with your feet and knees turned out quite a way? You’re probably gripping your butt.
· Do you stand with your pelvis and hips quite far forward over your feet and ankles? You’re probably gripping your butt.
· Do you feel like you have lots of weight in your toes when you’re standing? You’re probably gripping your butt.
If you’ve just stood up and thought “all of this is me!”, your next question is likely something along the lines of “what can I do to stop doing this?”. Luckily, there’s a few easy things to do:
· Firstly, think about having about two-thirds of your weight in your heels and one-third in your toes. You will know if you have too much weight in your heels as your toes will start to come up off the ground.
· Secondly, think about relaxing your lower butt muscles. Common phrases I tell people to think about include “relax the back of your hips” or “think about your sit bones getting wider apart”.
· Lastly, you may or may not need to adjust the position of your chest and shoulders to compensate. Think about gently lifting your chest up, like you’ve got a light in your chest and you want to shine it straight ahead.
This should hopefully result in your hips and pelvis feeling a bit lighter or it might make it feel easier to squat or walk or run. You’ll probably also feel like your calves aren’t getting as tight as they normally feel.
If you feel like all of the above is describing you but you can’t seem to get it right, give us a call at our cbd physio clinic and we’ll work everything out together and get you back doing what you love.