As a human you have more than 600 muscles in your body with the gluteus maximus the largest, it is located at the back of the hip also known as the buttocks. It is one of three gluteal muscles
Ironically this muscles is the largest but yet when I test this muscle during a Physiotherapy appointment find this is one of the weakest. Why is this? Well there is many factors contributing to its loss of activity but the maim one is sitting. When we sit this muscle is switched and not being used as its main functions are
· Standing up from sitting
· Holding yourself up in standing
· Climbing stairs
Weak gluteal muscles often contribute to
· Back pain
· Knee pain
· Hip pain
I quite often hear patients say I do lots of squats and yes squats do strengthen the gluteal muscles but often if your leg muscles are strong they take over and the gluteals become lazy. The first thing I do is to check squat technique as this is usually poor and I can identify if it uses the gluteal muscles efficiently.
There are many exercises to help with gluteal strength but the first thing to do is to wake of this lazy muscle. This can be done in sitting, standing, lying. Try and contract your gluteal muscles and hold for 10 seconds and now the tricky part is contract the right buttocks without the left and vica versa. This is harder than you think and feels impossible but with practice you can perfect this easily. We are telling your brain to use the gluteal muscle and this can then be activate through day to day activities.