Stand, Walk, Squat with less pain – Get your Glutes On!

Posted on September 13, 2016

Another common mistake we see with movement is that individuals learn to get up from lower surfaces and stand on a single leg by using their low back and front hip more than other muscles.  There are a few muscles that help us do this, but to simplify, we like to focus on the glute.

Why we see this a lot:

It’s easier to just hang out on the joints and ligaments of your spine and hip for stability and not expend energy using muscles to do it.

Why this is a problem:

Without proper glute control you end up relying mostly on those back and hip joints and ligaments and over time this can lead to pain anywhere from your low back down to your foot and ankle.

How to recognize it:

When you’re in this habit you tend to lean back so your shoulders are behind your hips.  We call this “swayback” posture.  Check out this video to see if this is you and to get some tips on how to change it.

What to do about it:

Be more aware and start to practice getting your glutes on.  A disclaimer, you should only do this as an intentional exercise.  You should NOT be walking around all day trying to squeeze your glutes, but rather maybe over 10-15 steps while walking and then just walk normal and it should begin to take care of itself.  

First, get working on the glute heel press down:

The goal would be to then progress this with just flat ground without a towel roll and then apply it to step ups, walking uphill, etc.

The glut wall push can be a nice progression if you’re still having trouble feeling your glute on with those other activities:

It’s also important that we better use our glutes coming up from lower positions.  The most common everyday use would be getting up out of a chair.  Here’s some direction on how to do that better from your hip and not so much from your low back:

From there, apply this to any squatting, hip hinging, and lunging with picking up objects and getting up off the floor and you’ll really start to notice the difference.  You can reference you “Hip – Strengthening” playlist on You Tube to practice those more.

In summary, it’s not just your glute you’re using with these, but the main goal is to use your hip muscles rather than other structures in your back and hip to avoid overuse and pain on those other structures over time.  Don’t think about using your glutes every second of the day, just intentionally with exercise and maybe with 10-15 reps of a daily movement like sit to stand, walking, and stairs here and there throughout your day and you’ll start automatically using your muscles better!

Get those glutes! #GetThoseGlutes

Dr. Dane Happeny, PT, DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Comments are closed.