Angeline Ong - Gluteus are becoming “the new core” for our functionality movement



Yoga can be a great workout, and has a myriad of benefits beyond burning calories. In this modern world, people spend a lot of time sitting which make our hips constantly flexed. Most of us experience hips tightness and this is the main cause of weak gluteus. Our gluteus need to be strengthen than to be stretch even though we constantly feel tightness in our hip. We should really focus of strengthening our gluteus with yoga then to stretch them with hip openers poses. However, in most yoga practice, people are often lack knowledge of anatomy and cueing their poses with more open gluteus instead of making it stronger.

In my yoga practice I focus more on strength-based poses to create stability on our hips. Hips stability keep us mobile in our day-to-day lives and a way to maintain a healthy body. Stability means pairing movement skill and strength to allow us to perform activities that we want, like running, hiking and etc. Yoga do train us a lot of the skill part but often lack on the strength used to accomplish the skill.  If we combine strength and skill, we will be able to achieve stability in every yoga poses. Stability is the master to create sustainability and longevity to our body movements.
Yoga movements allow us to access the gluteus and utilise it to find stability in our practice. You must learn to understand between "stretch" and "strengthen". Stretch often refer to poses that is static passive, holding a pose in a supporting position e.g.. seated single leg forward bend. Strength required our muscle group to be active and engaged to perform the pose.
Gluteus are becoming “the new core” for our functionality movement. Nowadays most fitness professionals are recognising that gluteus strength is as important as core strength. They came to realise the important of gluteus to sustain a functional movement.
Gluteus are made of three separate muscles on your butts, gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. These muscles are layered on top of one another, with different origins and insertion points on and around the pelvis and the leg bone.
Gluteus maximus control most of our movements around the hip and pelvis. Our day-to-day life depend a lot of movement on our legs and hips, whether you are walking, running, sitting or working out at gym. Our daily activities required a strong gluteus maximus, but an opened hip. Gluteus muscles primary function to provide stability to the hip joints when performing movement like hip extension, abduction and poses that requires outward rotation of the hip joints.
Gluteus medius and minimus assist movement of  the leg to the side and away from the body (hip abduction). Almost every yoga poses require this action, for example the tree pose, triangle pose, warrior 2 pose and etc.
 
Gluteus play a big role in hip stability and tightness. Ideally we have to learn to utilise the gluteus in yoga poses by strengthening them more than just focusing on stretching them. Why is it important to have a strong gluteus? For beginners, weak glutes are the common cause of lower back pain. You can just do some research on Google and you will find lots of studies confirming this. The research associate weak gluteus medius weakness are the primary cause of people with back pain.
While we are telling everyone to strengthen their gluteus, it is something we should focus in our yoga practice since we are moving our body around. Strengthening our gluteus will lead us a greater stability in yoga poses and our daily movement. A poor gluteus activation in chair pose, locust and warrior 3 pose often lead to back pain but many yoga teacher will often refer it to a weak core muscles. By activating the gluteus and core muscles, we bring stability to our knee joints when performing yoga poses. Gluteus weakness can potentiate risky joint positions in the body.
Ultimately, we need to practice cue for half pigeon or gomukhasana poses to relieve tight hips only after lots of gluteus activation poses to increase stability and mobility in our hips. Most yoga class are too commonly cued on hip openers poses, as opposed to target more on strengthening the gluteus and hip mobility work.
Yoga teachers can take a few tips from the functional movement professional to get more gluteus involved in yoga practice by just varying a few movements and inviting more strength-based poses. But unfortunately, in yoga classes, poor gluteus cueing has been adopted. We actually need gluteus maximus to be active in order to bring stability and ultimately depth to the pose, like bridge pose.
 
 
We can actually get gluteus muscles to work better for us, it may take time to get used to practicing like this, but it is worth it! You will achieve a stronger command over your body and ultimately help us to move better in our daily life.
Get creative in your yoga practice. Practice for strength and stability, and not just flexibility. Having a healthy range of motion is great, but supporting that range of motion with healthy muscles and joint stability will promote sustainable yoga practice. We can all have a firm butt by activating it and use it skillfully. It will not only make it looks good, but also learn how you are able to use it.
 

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