Your Glutes – Use it or Lose it!

You may have heard or read something lately outlining how important your gluteal muscles are in regards to low back pain – Why is that though?

The 3 muscles that make up your glutes are your gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. One of the main functions of them is to provide stability to your low back when walking, bending, during workouts, and pretty much every movement you make. A major problem we’re seeing day in and day out in the clinic is poor glute activation – where the muscle doesn’t fire at all – and delayed glute activation – where your glutes fire but after other muscles activate first. Even people who are active and train 5+ days a week have this problem.

This is because so many of us spend a lot of time sitting in a chair at work or slumped on the couch. Think about it, how much time do you spend sitting throughout the day? Even if you’re exercising every day for an hour there’s still a lot of time spent inactive. Not good. Our bodies are designed to be moving most of the day and as the old saying goes “use it or lose it”. The more time spent inactive the more your glute muscles become lazy and fail to provide you with the stability you need when you actually want to do something.

So what’s the answer?

Glute Activation!

This is a series of exercises designed to target your glutes to help ‘wake them up.’ When performed properly your glutes will switch on and give you the stability you need through your low back when exercising and going about your daily activities. Before activation it is important to make sure you’ve done some stretching and foam rolling ensure you have enough flexibility and mobility through the hip joint. for a reminder on foam rolling Check out this video:

Once you’ve got your mobility sorted you’re ready to start your glute activation. Below are a few basic/introductory glute activation exercises. For a more comprehensive program give us a call on 9683 1110 to arrange and appointment for a functional assessment and rehab program.

Clams –

  • Lie on your side with feet and knees together.
  • Keeping your feet together, lift up your top knee and then lower it down. (3 counts up, 3 counts down). 15 repetitions
  • Repeat on other leg


Glute Bridges –

  • Lie on back with knees bent, in neutral spine position. Turn on your deep core.
  • Exhale, slowly lift your tailbone up towards the ceiling and continue to peel your spine off the mat
  • Inhale, hold the bridge position
  • Exhale, lower the bridge and return to starting position
  • Repeat this 10 times


Bird Dog –

  • Kneel on hands and knees
  • Lift up right leg in a straight line behind your, with left arm up in a straight line in front of you
  • Repeat on the other side
  • Repeat this 10 times


These can be done at any time during the day to wake up your glutes and aid in preventing low back pain, as well as before a workout to optimise performance and reduce the risk on injury.