The gluteus maximus is one of the strongest muscles in the human body (and the largest in your butt). The thigh and hip movements depend on it, which explains why it is essential to generate energy when we run. It is also key to guarantee the stability of the pelvis and spine, essential to run more efficiently. In addition, the gluteus maximus causes the hip to extend during the impulse phase of the stride, when we force down and forward from the foot.
However, this muscle can lose its ability to contract properly and fully extend the hip. Many of us sit for hours during the workday, which leaves the gluteus maximus flattened. This, coupled with the tension that builds up in the hip flexors, makes this muscle unable to fully extend and contract the hip, reducing the energy we produce. When this occurs, the hip cannot lean forward and the back arches. As a consequence, pain may appear, something that prevents even more contraction of the gluteus maximus.
For this reason, these exercises that we offer you will not only help you find out the state of your gluteus maximus, but if you exercise it you will achieve a more energetic and efficient stride in the race.RELATED
Assess your status
Check if you can fully contract it without changing the position of the pelvis or spine. To get started, lie face down on the floor and bend your knee at a 90 ° angle. Be sure to wear suitable clothing that does not prevent you from seeing the column reflected in a side mirror.
Another option is to ask a friend to look at your silhouette or record yourself with your mobile. Keep in mind that you cannot do it by yourself looking over your shoulder. Squeeze the gut slightly and then raise the knee 5 cm above the ground. You should not arch or twist your spine or back. If, due to this small hip extension, your back is not kept straight, it means that you do not have the capacity to properly contract your gluteus maximus.
How to strengthen the buttock
Upside down contraction of the gluteus maximus. Put a pillow under your stomach to raise the trunk. This will cause your hip to flex slightly. Repeat the movement described above (slowly raise your knee 5 cm above the floor without arching your back). You should notice the contraction in your stomach and your butt. Hold the position for 10 seconds and repeat the exercise 10 times. Do it three times a day. Allow yourself to remove the pillow as the weeks go by and you do better. You will be able to work from the ground as you recover your ability to contract your glutes. While doing this exercise, also stretch your hip flexors.
The bridge. Done correctly is a very effective exercise. To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent and your fingers resting on your hip bones. Slightly contract your stomach muscles while still breathing normally. Tighten your buttock muscles and lift your hips so that your body draws a straight line between your shoulders and knees. Now lift one leg off the ground and keep it straight.
Be careful of the following mistakes: your pelvis falls to the side where your leg is raised or moves forward, or your back arches. Hold the position for 10 seconds and do 10 reps. Put a dumbbell or other weight on your pelvis if you want to do more intense work.
Buttock extension. Build resistance with an elastic strap (at home) or with a pulley (at the gym). The gluteus maximus works when we do squats, strides, and leg exercises, but in those cases it does not do it in isolation nor does it exhaust the maximum extension of the hip, which causes the effort to fall on other muscles as well. Tie the elastic band to a point at the ankle or stand in front of the gym’s pulley machine, with the belt aligned with the ankle and the pulley in its lowest position. Put the elastic band (or adjust the strap) on the sole of the foot and keep the knee bent at an angle of 90 °.
Make sure you keep your knee at this angle while doing the exercise. Tighten abdomen and buttocks and bring the foot (and with it, the entire hip) back, until reaching the maximum possible extension. Make sure that your pelvis does not expire or that your back does not arch. As it is a strength exercise, calculate the resistance, so that doing 5 cycles of 8 repetitions is a demanding workout, especially at the end.
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