Glute Strength and a Pain Free Lower Back
Our classes will always work the whole body – however, you may find in some classes you do a lot of work on the bum and tummy muscles. This is for a particular reason; Pilates is known for helping with back pain and improving core strength.
The Gluteal (bum) muscles are part of ‘the core’, and have a massive impact on how your hips and pelvis are positioned. If you have weaker bum muscles you could have poor posture through the lower back and potentially more likely to have hip and knee issues.
You may have heard our instructors talking about ‘neutral spine’ in class. To find your neutral spine you need to use a lot of muscles in the tummy, BUT also the Glute muscles – should these muscles not be working properly, you may find it difficult to get into the right positions in your class, and may be at more risk of suffering from lower back pain or stiffness.
Neutral spine refers to the correct postural position of your lower spine. Having poor posture can cause lower back pain. Thus, Glute strength can have an impact on preventing or lessening lower back pain.
So how can you make sure you are keeping your Glutes strong and your lower back safe?
In our newsletter this month we gave you tips and techniques on the lunge exercise – there is also an at home version. This exercise is good for strengthening the Glute and thigh muscles, it’s also good for keeping hips flexible.
Here are seven cues to perfect your dynamic lunge in class (or your reverse lunge at home) and improve both the flexibility and strength of the buttocks:
- Chest to knee. Bringing your chest down as close to the knee as possible will stretch and activate the gluteal muscles.
- Reach your arms forward and down. This will further encourage the loading and activating of the gluteal muscles.
- Weight in the heel. This keeps the weight in the right place to load the buttocks with the effort in the exercise.
- Relax the foot and toes. With an element of balance in this exercise, it’s tempting to tighten up the lower extremity to help you balance. Avoid this and the work will be done by the bum!
- Use the bar if you have to. If you feel extremely challenged by standing on one leg it’s better to give yourself a bit of help to get yourself moving. Your body will learn through doing the movement.
- Consciously squeeze your bum on the way up. Whilst the movement alone may be enough to get your behind working, if you have ‘lazy’ buttock muscles they may need some mental stimulation!
- Hold at the lowest part of the lunge. This is a way to make the exercise harder but can also do wonders on helping you feel the muscle firing up! Remember, if you don’t feel it, it’s not working!