[Never hurts to have a pretty girl demonstrate exercises for you.]
The Glutes Are the Primary Movers of the Hip Joint
First – lets define “glutes.” These are the muscles in your butt. Glutes comes from the Latin name gluteus maximus. To me it sounds like the name of Russel Crowe’s character in the movie Gladiator.
So anyway, the primary role of the glutes is to make your upper leg go in alignment with the spine. In other words if the spine and trunk are vertical – the leg must too. So the thigh is pulled down and back. This extension at the hip is primarily propelled by the muscles you are currently sitting on.
Every Movement Involves the Butt Because it Is in the Center of the Body
All natural whole body movements come from the hip joint. Running, jumping, walking, squatting, getting up from a chair – those are all movements that require the extension of the hip. So the ability to feel this muscle and contract it hard correlates to high athletic achievements. Run faster, jump higher, stand up from your chair quicker lol.
Static Force Also Originates From the Glutes
Here is the kicker – the glutes are helpful not only when actually moving your body, but also when statically contracting. If you execute the hollow position properly and squeeze the butt hard, this will allow you to generate much more force on exercises such as the military press. Grip hard and crunch those glutes and you are instantly stronger. This is a process called irradiation that allows adjacent muscles to make each other stronger by contracting. But this is a whole another topic.
How to Perform Glute Bridges to Feel the Butt Working
[This is quite a wimpy looking exercise. Not only does it look that way – it actually is quite lame. But… it teaches you to feel the right muscle working so I guess it’s OK lol.]
You need to be able to do two things. Feel the muscle work and contract it on demand when it is the primal mover on an exercise. Such is the case with barbell deadlifts, barbell squats and lunges for example.
The Dangers of a Dormant Butt
The biggest danger of not using your glutes in movements where they are supposed to do most of the work is that when other muscle kick in, your body works in an unnatural way. This can result in nearby or even far muscles and joins getting strained or injured.
For example – the lower back can get hurt if it is forced to do the hip extending job of the glutes. Or the ankles could be strained if misused due to improper alignment caused by inactive glutes.
It’s just that the body is a complex system. Mess something up and something is bound to go wrong somewhere else. Your body continues to function due to its ability to adapt, but it functions the same way a car with a flat tire continues to run.
Image: Vincent Boiteau