Friday, August 17, 2012

Activate Those Glutes! Stretch Your Psoas


 When exercising with a professional you’ll often be asked to activate your glutes.  The gluteal muscles are the three muscles that make up the buttocks: the gluteus
maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus muscles.  Often they are underutilized, during every day activities and during exercise, leading to lower back and limb injuries. 
Activating the glutes during exercise will also enhance the shape of the butt.      

One reason why we are often deficient when it comes to glute activation is our tight psoas.  The psoas is one of the largest and thickest muscles in the body. It attaches to the vertebrae of your lower back and the head of your femur (thigh bone) and is primarily responsible for hip and thigh flexion.  (pulling of the knee upwards)

When the psoas gets tight our gluteal muscles relax, this is because they are opposing muscles.  Today’s lifestyle with extended periods sitting shortens the psoas muscle.  Sit often and long enough and your body will think this shortened position is normal and your tissues will want to remain in this resting position (which for the psoas is actually tight and contracted).  Incorrect posture during standing and walking can also contribute to this problem.

To help you fire up your glutes during exercise it is therefore important to stretch the psoas first.  Once relaxed your gluteal muscles will be able to contract properly. 

To stretch the psoas kneel with the back knee on the floor and the front foot flat so the front leg is at 90degrees.  Press yourself up so the back knee raises 2inches off the floor. Hold this half kneeling position and enhance the psoas stretch by tightening the gluteus muscles in this position.    

Have a great workout!



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