Trainer Tip: Strengthen Your Glutes to Prevent Injury
You have three major glute muscles: Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus. The Gluteus Maximus, which is the largest muscle in your body, is most commonly targeting in leg strengthening exercises. With that being said, are gluteus medius and minimus tend to not get as much attention, but are especially important in supporting our knees when we exercise. Sometimes a good indicator of weak glute muscles can be when you are performing a squat and your knees slightly weave or collapse in during the downward motion. Weak glutes can also lead to lower back pain and IT Band issues. Next time you squat pay close attention to your knees in the mirror. See below for a few moves that will help strengthen your glutes and prevent you from future injury and knee pain! Simple, yet effective. One of my favorite mottos in fitness.
Lateral Step with Band
You can work your glutes in several different directions using a resistance band. Try lateral steps with the band cuffed around each ankle. Keep a slight bend in your knees and maintain a neutral, flat spine. Take small steps and keep both toes pointed forward. Take about 20 steps and then work your way back. Repeat a few times. The burn is real!
Diagonal Step with Band
Face forward with the band around ankles. Take a forward step with your right foot at about a 45 degree angle. Bring your left foot to meet it. Repeat with left foot. Walking about 20 steps forward and then repeat the same motion but walking backwards.
Lie on your side. Stack your legs on top of one another bending them at about 90 degrees. Pretend that your ankles are glued together and at the same time open your top leg up like a “clam shell” and then close. Repeat 20 reps each side twice. Extra challenge add a resistance band around your upper thighs.
Side Lying Lateral Leg Raise
Lie on your side. Stack both legs on top of one another keeping them both straight. Flex your toes toward your nose. Lift the top leg up as high as you can. Depending on glute strength and flexibility some people will have different ranges of motion.
Set yourself up in a table top position. Fire up your core muscle. Keep your knee bent at 90 degrees and gently lift your leg up to the side. Avoid putting all your weight in your opposite leg. Work to keep your torso square to the mat.