Tight hips and weak glutes aren’t doing anyone any favors. Extended periods of sitting shortens the hip-flexors and weakens the glute muscles which negatively impacts hip mobility. Lack of hip flexibility and mobility leads to compensatory movement patterns that can lead to injury. When I haven’t been consistent with my stretching I can really tell a difference. My hips get tight, it hurts, and it affects my lifting. So I’m focusing on stretching more and making it part of my routine so I don’t have those problems.
I’ve got the glute strength training thing down (so yay!) which is also important for overall stability. I’ve talked a lot about the importance of glute strength (for everyone, particularly pregnant/postpartum moms) –check previous blogs or the Guide to Glutes program that comes with the best glute band ever!
Here are a few reasons why you should build strong glutes:
- Reduce lower back stress: Your glutes stabilize the pelvis and keep the integrity of movement in the hip joint. When they’re strong, your lower back doesn’t bear the brunt of your motion.
- Increase athletic performance: If you want to be a stronger athlete, it’s time to start glute specific training (the thrust is a must!) Stronger glutes will improve your speed, agility, and jumping skills, and improve your squats.
- Prevent knee pain/injury: Strong glutes keep the pelvis stable. When your pelvis isn’t stable, it puts a lot of pressure on your knees and ankles to compensate. So strong glutes can prevent knee pain or injury.
But should you train glutes during pregnancy? Are there benefits for pregnant/postpartum women? YES, YES!!!
The glute muscles should be a main focus throughout your pregnancy training and postpartum, too.
Why you want strong glutes during/after pregnancy:
- Support your lower back and give you stability through this area.
- Help align your pelvis into a good position for baby’s development. Also great for when it’s time to deliver.
- Decrease back pain. Your growing belly is putting A LOT of pressure on your pelvis and can change your posture causing back pain. You can correct this with stronger glutes.
- Once you deliver your core will feel unstable for awhile (disconnected, like jello are some other descriptors I’ve heard) and strong glutes help stabilize you.
Ok so now that you know why you need strong glutes, here are some stretches to make sure your hips stay flexible and strong.
—SQUAT with knee push out (pictured-squat low and use your elbows to push your knees outward for maximum stretch)
—SUPINE FIGURE 4
—FROG (awkward looking AF)
Right now I’m shooting for at least 3 days a week of hip stretches. Maybe I’ll do more, but starting with a target that I know I’ll be able to stick to will increase the likelihood I’ll actually do it and then feel accomplished for doing it not bad for not doing it.
I encourage you to start a glute strengthening and hip flexibility program! Check out Guide to Glutes and start doing the stretches I listed above. Start this week!