Strong glute muscles play an important role in enhancing athletic performances, especially in activities that involve running. The glute muscles are also vital to hip stability. Without good hip stability, other muscles groups must be recruited to compensate and injury often results. The glute bridge is an excellent exercise to strengthen your glute muscles and to add to your core exercise routine.
There can be several reasons for this inhibition of such a powerful hip extensor, but one explanation is the fact that many of us sit for extended periods during the day and compress our glutes which is thought to contribute to this ‘gluteal amnesia’.
Regardless of how it occurs, here’s why it is important that we keep those glutes fired up! Using the soccer goalie as an example, picture the ready position – knees bent, torso angled forward, chest up. Basically, this is the picture of an athlete hanging off their posterior chain including the hamstrings, glutes and back extensors.
Now imagine taking the glutes out of the equation – now what you see is a player hanging off their hamstrings and back extensors – these muscles must compensate for the lack of contribution from the glutes. Anyone ever get a sore lower back or have tight hamstrings? So right there you are creating an overuse pattern in your back and hamstrings.
We could add to that the core stabilization effect the glutes have via their insertion to the thoracolumbar fascia and the impact they have on pelvic position – lazy glutes plus tight hip flexors and you have an anterior pelvic tilt which again can lead to back pain, hip flexor strain and even contribute to a sports hernia.
I think you are getting the picture of how glute activation is important from an injury reduction perspective and I bet you are convinced that it is something you should work on. Now let’s consider the role of your glutes in performance using the soccer goalie again as an example.
The glutes can move your leg, via the hip, in different directions, but basically any time you need to make a forward or lateral movement on the field you should be using your glutes. Need to seal the left post in a hurry to prevent a corner kick – well then you are going to have to drive off the right leg and the more power production you get from your glutes the quicker you are going to get there and deny the scoring chance.
So, you will reduce your chances for back pain, hip flexor strain, sports hernia and chronic hamstring tightness while increasing your speed and explosiveness on the field, sounds like one of those ‘win:win’ situations you hear so much about doesn’t it.
So try using this exercise as a pre-practice, pre-game warm-up or office routine if you think a little more power would help your game or just to get your backside working again.
Check out this link for 7 Ways to Perform the Glute Bridge , by Core Performance.