Feeling like you are running or cycling but your glutes aren’t pulling their weight? You are in good company. I meet very few runners or cyclists whose gluteus maximus muscles are working correctly.
The glutes should be the primary muscles that drive your leg into extension, assisted by the hamstrings, whose primary role is knee flexion and stabilization. It’s not uncommon to be told by a physiotherapist that your hamstrings are overactive and your glutes are under-active.
The glute bridge is the exercise usually recommended to address the imbalance between the glute and the hamstring, however, it can be ineffective as the hamstring can still fire, but in a compromised (shortened) position. In this position, a common dysfunctional movement pattern occurs when the hamstring fires, it has an inhibitory effect on the glute maximus. Therefore, instead of modifying the firing pattern, the glute bridge reinforces the compensation pattern.
Once the dysfunctional movement patterns affecting the glutes are fixed, then the glute bridge, deadlift, squat etc are all excellent exercises that can strengthen the glutes efficiently.
There are many ways the glutes can become dysfunctional, here are just a few examples:
1. Previous injuries causing a compensation pattern to avoid pain, but never reverting back to the original, more functional pattern once the injury has resolved.
2. Dysfunctional sensory receptors at the site of scars (surgery or otherwise) anywhere around the abdomen and lower back, or as far down as the ankles.
3. Gut inflammation, which in turn has an inhibitory effect on the lymphatic system. The nervous system in a state of panic further redirects the neural drive of the muscles around the waist (including the glutes) to dysfunctional organs of the gut as a protective mechanism.
4. Misalignments of the cranial bones that affect the Cerebrospinal Fluid via the Cranial Primary Respiratory System.
With SensoriMotor Repatterning (SMR), I can usually identify and resolve all these patterns within two sessions. SMR changes the neurological movement patterns allowing the glutes to perform correctly, ensuring a strong propulsion forward with every stride. Find out more at ottawaSMR.ca