The importance of hamstring and glute activation - Heal'r
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The importance of hamstring and glute activation

Written by Tanya Lee

The gluteus maximus is our strongest muscle in the body. It is a powerful hip extensor, used in walking, running, swimming, cycling, squatting, you name it, the glute is likely involved. However because it is behind us and we don’t see this muscle, we can tend to forget about it. 

In active glute muscles can lead to lower back pain, pelvic pain and groin pain amongst many other muscular pains and injuries. 

One quick way to check your glutes is to see if they turn on when you squat. So do a small bend and as you straighten, your glutei should tighten. Most people use their quadriceps ( muscles at the front of the thighs) but the aim is to use the back of the legs. 

The great thing is that glute muscles can be activated and strengthened.  

Here are my 3 favourite Glute max exercises: 

  1. Spinal curls: Lie on your back, feet hip width apart. Tuck the tailbone under, flattening the spine and curl the spine up. Hold and then roll down. 
  2. Hip extension in prone : Lie on your stomach, feet shoulder width apart. Lengthen one leg and lift it into the air. Your glute muscle should turn on while your lower back muscles stay relatively soft. 
  3. Scooter: Stand on one leg, other leg lifted in the air. Extend the leg behind you and then return. Repeat. (This exercise works both legs)

If you feel this in your calf or your quadriceps it means your glutes need to turn on more. 

How can you learn to turn on your glutes forever? 

The answer is Clinical Pilates. 

Clinical pilates with trained instructor, will teach you how to use your glutes and hamstrings which will add more definition and strength to the back of your legs and help to release those pesky tight hip flexors( front of the thighs) at the same time.

For us, your Heal’r Osteopaths, Physiotherapists, Kinesiologists, Clinical Pilates instructors and Massage Practitioners.

Written by Samantha Ziman

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