All about those glutes...by Rebound Sports & Physical Therapy
So about those glutes…
In the last blog post I mentioned using the correct muscles during exercise. Our best efforts to improve our power and strength may not be carrying over onto the bike if we are not engaging properly. When you do lower body strengthening or a hard bike ride, where do you feel soreness? The answer for many is not in the right places. Many factors can contribute to this, like bike fit, posture, muscle tightness and movement patterns.
Glutes (otherwise known as the butt) function to extend or straighten the leg/hip. The glutes are one of our primary movers, especially on the bike. If you aren’t properly engaging the glutes you are losing power and putting yourself at risk for injury. The glute max should be the primary muscle involved with hip extension, which we do repeatedly on the bike. Do a quick check: lie on your stomach, bend your knee so your foot is pointed toward the ceiling, and then lift your leg up off the floor. What do you feel working? Is your hamstring cramping? Does you back tighten up and arch? We want the glute to be working to extend the hip, so the majority of the effort should be felt in the butt. If it isn’t how do we fix this problem?
We need to start back at the beginning, by breaking this faulty movement pattern. Movement patterns are driven from the brain and repetition, so we must start at the basics. Just like with any activity, we must master the fundamentals before progressing to advanced maneuvers. Starting with basic glute squeezes while keeping lower leg muscles relaxed then progressing to clamshells, stomach leg raises or quadruped fire hydrants. Work on your double leg squat form with a good hip hinge and neutral spine. When you have squats dialed in, only then transition to single leg work or vary the surface. With all exercises quality is more important than quantity.
If we want any of this to carry over onto the bike, we need repetitions of various movements and scenarios to develop a new movement pattern. Feedback is a crucial component of retraining. Perform exercises in front of a mirror or with a partner to monitor form. Sometimes having a trained eye of a professional is essential for technique and corrections. If you are still struggling with glute activation, you may need more in-depth treatment and assessment of the underlying cause. Rebound Sports & Physical Therapy can get to the source, and as part of your registration with the Fondo you are entitled to a free consultation. Call to schedule (970) 663-6142.