Sometime last summer…. “Hey Nikki, check out that girl’s butt – it looks kind of weird, huh?”
Yeah, that’s right, my wife and I have a very special relationship and because of our jobs, we have probably a little stranger conversation than you and your wife have while walking down the beach. Why would I talk about somebody else’s butt in front of my wife? Because she knows as I do (as a lot of sports professionals know) that your glutes are the most important muscle in your body for day-to-day function.
If these muscles are working improperly, if they are too short and tight, or MORE COMMONLY, too elongated and over-stretched, they cause problems through your hips, IT bands, lower back, and knees. Problems here would affect power outputs for athletes like football players and people lifting weights. Issues here decrease speed in runners and loss of endurance and marathoners and triathletes. You couldn’t even throw a ball to the best of your ability.
What may really get your attention is that if your posterior is “off”, you may have shoulder issues, neck issues, and just generally, feel like crap. Do I have your attention yet? These muscles and the hips they attach to are the biggest and most important movers in the body.
Do you know how strong guys and show-offs can flex their chest muscles and make them move individually? (honestly, all men trained in front of the mirror all year during 8th grade to do this).
You should be able to individually contract your glutes. That’s right, stand up and flex only your right butt cheek. Like Missy Elliot in her newest video – flex it.
“Twerk dat twerk dat/giggle that back”….Can you do it? I’m guessing not – I’ll bet you flexed the quad muscle first, instead.
This is Typical but wrong – your brain doesn’t even have control of the right body part!!
I know, because I was there. The last time I was hurting I tried, but I couldn’t do it.
BUT, I know the fix!
This is a common problem for most people. Although common, it is not OK and it is still a problem.
Without this control, called motor function (the brain’s ability to control a muscle properly), you are setting yourself up for a world of hurt. It may not come now or tomorrow, but it will come. It happens because you aren’t working the way you were designed. Think of balding misaligned tires on your car. It’s going to stop at some point, or at best, drive really funky.
So how do you exercise these muscles? How do you get back online? The good news is the glutes are, as I stated, one of the biggest muscles in the body, they probably aren’t truly weak but just need to be reactivated. You need to get your brain back on track and pay attention to your posterior again!
Try these two exercises I’ve laid out for you. Stand up, put your hand on one glute and push your leg back. You should feel that muscle contract. Flex it like a bodybuilder on stage. Do it 10x, now repeat with the other side.
Now do both together. like Nacho Libre!
Note: These exercises are best done in the privacy of your own house, preferably in the bathroom with the door locked. They are that embarrassing. Seriously, I am telling you about them and I don’t want to see you in one of my tee shirts at the gym doing them. They are important and functional however and THE FIRST STAGE TO RECOVERY.
STOP THE STRETCH AND MAKE THEM CONTRACT!
Another great tip, practice (this may take a few weeks) trying to individually contract one side of your glutes. As I said, I couldn’t do it – now I can. It’s tough huh?
This is actually “stage 3” of motor control (linked.) So if it’s not helping after a week or so, You may need all 3.
When you’ve got it, feel free to crank your hip hop and work it/can you work it and get back out there on the dance floor! (or road, bike, gym, sport and life!)