The Importance of Glute Training
The glute revolution in the fitness industry has really been something to see over the last few years. I remember the first time that I saw someone doing a barbell bridge around 10 years ago and was struck by its peculiarity. Now, it seems, every second person in the gym is doing some type of dedicated glute strengthening/toning session each week and the barbell bridge has become the norm! It’s a good thing, too, because the gluteus maximus is the strongest muscle in the body and its proper functioning is critical to our overall lower body limb mechanics and preventing back, hip and knee pain.
But what do the glute muscles do, in lay terms? The primary function of the gluteus maximus is to the straighten the hip (extend the hip). Think of walking as a good example, or even better, walking up a hill. When you step forward the job of the gluteus maximus is to bring the forward leg back towards the body, which propels us forward. Extrapolate this to running and jumping and you might be able to see that there is actually very little movement that a human can do on 2 legs that doesn’t involve the gluteus maximus in some capacity.
The 2 smaller glute muscles – the gluteus medius and minimus (clever names, right?) are mainly responsible for keeping the hip joint in the anatomically optional position with regards to the rest of your lower leg. Again, in lay terms, this simply means that these muscles help to control the subtler movements of your hip so that your knees and ankle don’t roll in, meaning that they essentially act as support for the big and powerful gluteus maximus muscle.
The main reason that training the glutes has become so important is that the majority of our time is spent in a sitting position. For those of you with desk jobs this is not good for the health and function of your glutes and hips in general. The human body evolved to be spent mainly in an erect position with the glute muscles active all of the time. In a sitting position the opposite of our structural evolution is occurring – the glute muscles are not being used and they are being held in a stretched position for a long time. This prolonged stretched or lengthened position leads to the glutes becoming disinhibited, meaning they don’t function as well as they should. And this is what has led to the revolution in lower body and glute training.
My favourite class of all of the fantastic QMax classes is, therefore, Havana Booty. Functionally, it is a simply excellent class that not only gives you a tremendous workout but also a long lasting benefit to your lower body mechanics and health. If you have not tried the Havana Booty class I strongly encourage you to get along to one and embrace its long awaited return to the QMax timetable. You won’t regret it!
Yours in Health!
Blog post courtesy of Chris Dounis, Senior Personal Trainer at Fit n Fast St Peters