I did stationary lunges in my office on Friday. The door was not closed, it was impulsive. Before I knew it, I was standing, lunging forward in my beige patent leather wedges and turquoise capri pants…then I squeezed my glute as my back knee touched the ground. Oh yes, feel the hip flexor burn, Melissa. Exactly what you needed………….
So I suffer from Dormant Bum Anxiety (DBA). Okay, so perhaps I made that up, so don’t Google it. However, I do get anxiety about how much sitting I do now. My work responsibilities have recently changed and I spend a considerable amount of time in the car driving or on a plane. Neither allow for a lot of movement or activity…which means I’m sitting on my glutes and they are dormant for hours on hours per day.
Why do I get anxiety about this? Because I know how important my glutes (and hip flexors) are to my overall health, particularly my lower back health. I have a significant anterior pelvic tilt (read lower back arch) — see picture below. Little did I know that this was putting me at risk for back injury and general discomfort, until recent years. I’ve worked really hard to correct this. Lower back injury means no gym time.
Plus I also enjoy having a perky bum. I’m only 34, can’t be sagging quite yet — actually I never want to sag. It’s possible.
Anyhow, the glutes are very important. Aesthetically, we generally enjoy having a nice backside, athletically it can improve performance and finally, it improves our overall comfort in regards to back pain. Here are 4 habits or actions I’ve incorporated into my life over the past year to assist in all of the aforementioned:
- Glute Dominant Warm Up – it is really important to activate your glute muscles AND stretch your hip flexors (both important to improving that lower back arch). EVERY time I go to the gym I perform the following: Bodyweight Glute Bridges, Wall Iso Glute Marches, Hip Flexor Wall Stretch with glute squeeze.
- Glute Dominant Exercises – females especially should perform 2 posterior chain exercises for every anterior chain (read back vs. front). Some of my favorite exercises are: Barbell Hip Thrust, Single Leg Hip Thrust, Back Extensions, heavy KB swings, DB Glute Bridge and of course, Sumo Deadlift.
- Lacrosse Ball/Foam Roll Daily – yes, this took me a while to actually do this, but I do stretch or foam roll every day, along with rolling my glutes over a lacrosse ball (it will hurt at first, but your butt gets used to it). If in a hurry, I make sure I do the wall hip flexor stretch. ***If your hip flexors tighten/shorten, that whole anterior pelvic tilt/back pain situation happens.***
- Walk/Stand When Able – because I sit so much for my profession, I do try to be the person who stands in a meeting when we are a chair short, or take extra walks around the office/nursing home (I work for a skilled nursing care company). Perhaps I can skip the lunging in the office, but hey — whatever works for the situation, right?!
Overall, if you are a male or female, the glutes are an important muscle group that can really improve your overall health. They need extra attention, especially if you sit a lot for a living.
Don’t suffer from DBA, battle it with some general awareness to moving around more throughout the day AND incorporating the stretches and exercises mentioned above.
Have a Great Day!