Let’s talk about your butt. Why? Because the three gluteal muscles in the buttocks – the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus – are crucial for low back health, as well as strength and power in athletic movement. The butt is part of your core!
Weak glutes not only cause low back pain but are related to other conditions like patellofemoral pain, knee injuries (anterior cruciate ligament injuries), iliotibial band syndrome, ankle injuries and Achilles tendinopathy.
Regarding the glutes, it is less about the maximum weight they can lift, and more about the ability to recruit the glute muscles to perform proper hip extension and gait movements.
I use the squat to assess the glutes, and I use other tests to check stabilty of the hip in an extended position with the pelvis held in neutral.
Depending on position you are moving around in, the gluteals need to be able to act as either a prime mover or a stabiliser, depending on the task.
It is common in athletes for the gluteal muscles to become lengthened (chronically stretched), thus reducing the tension in the range around hip extension. This undermines athletic performance – and makes them more prone to injury as well.
Some of my favorite glute exercises are:
Theraband side walk
Side lying hip abduction