July "Move of the Month" - GLUTE activators

Jul 18, 2015

Photo courtesy of Sheer Madness Productions

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So, as paddlers in the prime of our season, we continue to sit A LOT!!!  We kayak for hours on end . . . sitting!  Then we spend hours in front of the computer screen editing photos or video . . . sitting!  AND, to relax after a long, hard day, we watch a movie . . . sitting!  Have I made the point?  We SIT a lot . . . too much!

So what happens when we sit?  Some muscles get tight, others get weak.  When this combination happens, muscle jump in to compensate movement.  When people complain of tight hamstrings or lower back pain, it is sometimes associated with weak glutes.  Weak glutes can be a result of "The Sitting Epidemic".

Here are a few exercises to improve the ability of your glutes to fire and stabilize movement.  As awkward as these exercises feel, they are VERY effective.  Do them in the privacy of your own home if you want, but give them a try for 6-8 weeks and perform them 3-4 times a week.

1.  Glutes Clams - Place your body against a wall.  Stack your shoulders, hips, knees and feet on top of one another, with your knees bent.  Place your top hand on the floor in front of you and press yourself up against the wall.  While keeping your feet "attached", lift your top leg, focusing on the 'lifting' movement coming from your top glute.  Perform 3X10-20 reps and switch sides.

Glute Clams from Heather Herbeck on Vimeo.


2.  Hip Extensions (Bridging) - Lie flat on the ground with your knees bent and feet on floor.  Place your feet hip width apart and keep your knees hip width apart, too.  Lift your hips up, squeezing your glutes.  Hold the glute squeeze at the top for 2-3 seconds and lower back down.  Avoid allowing your knees to "wing out" or come in when you perform the lift.  3X10-20 reps, slow and controlled.


So, why aren't squats and lunges on this list to strengthen the glutes?  Here's why:

If your glutes cannot recognize a movement in which they need to fire (such as squats and lunges), your hamstrings and lower back will "assist" or take over the movement.  So, first you need to train your glutes to activate and fire.  Once they are able to do this, then head over and start training with squats and lunges.  BUT, if you're doing squats and lunges and you feel your hamstrings and/or lower back hurt, then that is the signal that your glutes might not doing their job.

Okay, paddlers . . . the name of the game is to "paddle for longevity".  If you ONLY paddle, you will develop overuse injuries or imbalances in the body.  SO, the only way to counteract that is to train off the water as well.  Give yourself 30 minutes 3-5 times a week to train off the water . . . in the long run, it will pay off big time.

If you are working out for your first time or if you have any questions, please see your doctor or physical therapist before starting any program.  Or connect with me for some online guidance and training (See website below).

PS - Excuse the "non-professional" video, did the best I could at the time :-)

See you on the water,

Heather Herbeck

Fitness & Sport Evolution

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