Lower back Exercises
Whether your training goal is performance enhancement, fat loss, or simply feeling good while maintaining an injury-free lifestyle, there is one concept that is almost universally agreed upon amongst the experts. In order to achieve the best possible outcome, you will need to address your glutes in an intelligently programmed and strategically executed manner.
A “well-rounded” glute program (pun definitely intended) takes into account both the structure and function of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex.
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The gluteals (glute minimus, maximus, and medius) are in charge of multiple movements at the hip, primarily hip extension, but also abduction, external rotation, and stabilization of the entire posterior chain. Since they function synergistically with the core and muscles of the upper and lower extremities, the glutes are often the cornerstone of most compound movement patterns.
Avoid This Misconception
A common misconception is that if a “flare up” (increased burning or muscular fatigue) is felt in the lower back during a glute or leg exercise, this is an indication that the back is “weak.” More often than not, the cause of the problem is not weakness, but a result of either inefficient glute activation, incorrect execution of the movement pattern, or at worst, the presence of some other pathology.
The body is exceptionally efficient. When we cannot get in touch with the glutes as well as we would like, the body will “steal” the work from the closest available muscle group. The common culprits in this case are typically the hamstrings or the muscles of the lower back, thus giving us the often misunderstood “flare up.”
What It’s All About
Appropriate and transferable strength together with proper function of the glutes, plays a pivotal role in the rate of success of your overall training program, as well as in the long term health of your spine.
OK! So we should just pop into the gym and start training the glutes, right?
Not so fast!
While traditional glute-dominant exercises like the deadlift and squat are superior loaded glute exercises, sufficient activation and recruitment of those muscle fibers is not automatic, or guaranteed, for everyone. An extra intervention is often necessary in order to get the glutes and the brain “talking to one another.”
Factors That Can Hinder Glute Activation
- Sitting all day
- Presence of acute pain, or history of lower back or lower extremity injury
- Lack of general kinesthetic awareness of how to control the desired movement pattern safely and effectively
If you fall into any of the above categories, you will most likely need to spend some time during your dynamic warm-up doing glute activation and integration in order to be ready to perform in the most optimal and pain-free manner.
As the old adage goes, “You can’t build the arse of your dreams by sitting on it.” Or wait, maybe that’s just a meme that’s been floating around. Either way, the advice is sound, and I stand by it.