Awhile back I wrote a post about glutes and some of the exercises you can do for them. Those of you that have read more blogs than my own or have been training for awhile now have probably heard quite a bit about glutes. Also if you've had an injury you probably couldn't stop hearing about glutes, or if you are a desk jockey with the standard problems that come with it you've heard about them too. Glutes glutes glutes...what the hell is the obsession with butt's you're probably wondering? Well it's much more than how nice looking some of them are.
Glute strength solves a number of high frequency issues, number one in my assessment is back pain. The glutes and the core muscles are, for the most part, your ticket to a healthy and pain free back. The glutes are a major contributor out of 3 that most consider the driving force in your posterior chain, the other 2 being hamstrings and erector spinae. At first I use to think the posterior chain was essential just in sports, then I got real smart real quick and realized it's essential for life. Think about every time you go to bend over and pick something up and potentially expose your back to injury? The second your glute strength dissapears is the second your hips start to go all out of whack and your hips are pretty damn important clearly. They are that crossover point between your lower body (upper leg) and upper body (lower back), so if those are messed up, something will be in pain, I promise.
As I mentioned glutes and hips have a ton to do with sports, for example, think back to when you were first starting sports, and I'm gonna use football for this example since I played it and I think it translates the best. Those that played, when you first started out, do you remember when you were first learning how to tackle and the coach told you to watch the ball cairrers belt, aka their hips, because that was the only thing wouldn't move unless they were in fact going that direction? Case and point, you can not move without your hips. Obviously the really good ones could get those to move and still make you miss and look foolish. Hips are also a huge source of power for athletes, if you can get those to generate force you will do some damage. Any time you are trying to go from flexion to extension, it's your glutes that are (or at least should be) driving you to that point.
|Guess He Forgot That Advice|
Going from there to the next subject, broad jumps, great exercise for producing and measuring your power without loading up weight on your body. The power in a broad jump is produced mainly through where?? That's right you guessed it, glutes and hips. Starting to notice the theme yet?
My buddy Mike has written a ton of crap about box jumps, it's all good stuff, so I am gonna take a page or 2 out of his book, because there are so many similarities between the 2 moves. The idea with broad jumps, in really simple terms, is to throw your hips forward as far into extension as you can be and still land without making your knees (or anything else for that matter) crumble. Below we got do's and many don'ts concerning a broad jump.
First video is pretty much what you should look like when you perform a broad jump. Land without killing yourself and make it look athletic. Land in the same position you jumped from.
Second video looks pretty much the same to the first one to the untrained eye. Take a listen to how loud my feet hit. I did this video on a wood floor so you could hear it. Landing like that just makes my knees and hips hate me for doing it. Simply put it's not a good idea and a good way to put unnecessary stress on your joints.
Third video involves way too much pressure on the toes. Another great way to make your knees hate you and your jump. The main contact points in your broad jump should be mostly between the ball of your foot and your mid-foot (yes there is a difference).
Fourth video hopefully everyone is starting to pick up on what I've been putting down here. I landed so heavily on my heals I almost fell on my ass. I'm sure a good number of you were hoping I would so you could have a good laugh at me. Sorry to disappoint you guys.
Last video simply has no counter movement and looks about as athletic as John Goodman. No counter movement means your jump will be pretty short and pretty ugly, and this one was.
Moral of the story is if it looks ugly and not athletic then it probably is wrong. My advice to those that are having any of these issues is to cut down the distance on the jumps and focus your technique. Again make it look athletic, it'll save you lots of pain.
Wrapping it all up, this is just one little example of where your glutes come into play in sports. Remember also that they are important for healthy living too. Next time your trainer says that they are going to work on activating your glutes or strengthening them, maybe you can now be a little more excited knowing that they are in fact looking out for your health concerns.
Have a good day all, go out and get after it today!