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Glute Activation for Injury Prevention

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
We've had years of hearing about the importance of core activation for injury prevention. Now, the glutes are getting equal time. Sports Medicine experts are discovering that weak gluteals can be the cause of four major athletic injuries:

  1. Low back pain
  2. Hamstring strains
  3. Anterior hip pain
  4. Anterior knee pain
The problem is often caused by the amount of time we spend sitting at our desks. Sitting over activates the hip fexors, which in turn creates a condition called "reciprocal inhibition." In plain English, overly tight hip flexors can lead to weakened glutes.

When your flexors are tight, your pelvis is in a hyper-extended which can lead to back pain. Tight hip flexors are often accompanied by over active quads. Over active quads are usually paired with weak hamstrings.

When performing movements that require the use of both the hamstrings and the glutes, if the glutes are too weak to perform the action, the hamstrings take on the work. But wait a minute, the hamstrings are already weak because of tight quads! This is sometimes the reason why people strain their hamstrings.

Quite often, people think that their hamstrings are tight, when they are actually weak. This is why hamstring stretching sometimes does not solve the problem. Instead, streching should be performed for the hip flexors or quads, while strengthening should be done for the glutes and hamstrings.

The best exercise to accomplish all of these tasks is still the stability ball hamstring curl.
post #2 of 16
yeah LM.... or in my case old injury to PSOAS ..... hence tight in hip-flexor .... but only 1 side really

in the end I had to end up with my right hemi-pelvis anteriorly rotated to force me to go get myself sorted out a bit.....

Funnily enough my "minor back strains" disappear when I concentrate on the BUTT & hip flexor - not the back!
post #3 of 16
Thanks for the advice, Lisa Marie!
post #4 of 16

Buns of steel

I can attest to this first hand. I see a chiro occasionally because I spend a lot of time on a bike as a long distance randonneur and an occasional racer. I feel fortunate to have had this diagnosed by my chiro.

My Iliopsoas were very tight. My glute were not firing well and I felt I had tight hamstrings. The curvature of my lumbar became less pronounced because of these aspects and that had set me up for a potential lower back injury.

I have been doing the hamstring curl on the ball. I've also been doing reverse lunges. And of course I have been stretching the soas.

Lisa, Ivo Waerlop is my Chiro in Summit County.

I now have buns of steel.
post #5 of 16
LM...as for a hamstring specific exercise, and for those of us who enjoy lifting weights, what do you think about dead lifts?

For those who want to know what a deadlift is: http://www.hmc.psu.edu/ufc/resources.../2004/july.htm
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
By request, here is a photo of the stability ball leg curl:

Ruler, dead lifts are a good hamstring exercise.
post #7 of 16
Lisa Marie -- can you avoid neck issues with this hamstring curl by placing a couple of folded blankets under your shoulders and upper back, so the neck isn't so sharply angled during the curl?
post #8 of 16
I also found that the Downward Facing Dog, Triangle, Reverse Triangle and also Half-Moon postures in yoga help the hamstrings, hips and lower back. Although they seem much more stressful and injury causing than the exercise Lisa Marie suggests here with the stability ball. Thanks again, LM. I'm adding this exercise to my repertoire.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Nightcat
Lisa Marie -- can you avoid neck issues with this hamstring curl by placing a couple of folded blankets under your shoulders and upper back, so the neck isn't so sharply angled during the curl?
Absolutely! Some people need it, some don't. I always look at the alignment first. I have some students who always need something under their neck when they are in a supine position.
post #10 of 16

Ruler, dead lifts are a good hamstring exercise.[/QUOTE]

As an avid gym rat,I think you should seek out a trainer to show you how to do a dead lift. I would say that in the gym ,about 80 % if not more do deadlifts improperly.Most I believe are doing "good mornings".
post #11 of 16
Great post Lisamarie.

I would like to add most people train their quads when what they really need is hip flexibility and strength, not quad strength. Most people are quad strong and glute weak decreasing joint mechanics in the hip and knee leading to overuse syndromes.
The exercise you gave is a good one. I'd also add a closed chain exercise such as one leg balance with multi directional reach to floor.

Set up 3 paper cups one in front and 2 on either side of your body.Stand on one leg bend and reach down touch one cup, come up now another and so on. Great for glute strength and balance!
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Awesome, ski=free. Fox did something similar at the first Academy with a bottle of beer!
What PT clinic do you work at in Boston ?
post #13 of 16
thanks for the tip Lisa

you just described me, strong quads, tight hip flexors ....... and I know my glutes don't fire, unless I concentrate. When I start skiing in the morning I always have to consciously tell my glutes to fire. and it makes quite a difference to my skiing. After a while the muscle memory kicks in.....

What a coincidence, I just did some stability ball hamstring curls at lunch time today, first time in a few months. I'll make sure I keep doing them so the body can hack the pace for the ski holiday next year, and I balance things out a bit more.
post #14 of 16
There are progressions to the SB hamstring curl too. 1. bring your arms in to your sides, hands up, elbows on the floor. or, 2. fold your arms over your chest. These make it progressively more difficult and engage core for 'balance' more than with arms out to the sides as shown in photo. Finally, you can do them one legged.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Cool Mom! Also, if you want a real glute challenge:

*Put a thera-band across your lower pelvis.
*Hold it down firmly with both hands.
*Rise up into the bridge
*Lower your right hip about two inches
*Squeeze your right glute cheek and bring it back up, pressing into the band
*Repeat on the left side.

Julie, when you come out to Summit County, I'll take a look at you at the studio.
post #16 of 16
cool thanks
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