Posted by: renssuperawesomepage | October 14, 2011

Weak Glutes could destroy the athlete

The gluteus medius is the most important muscle in every runner and should also be considered in every running injury. So many athletes with overuse injuries of the lower leg have poor gluteus medius function, the correct strength and function of this muscle is one the most important components in the achievement of efficient running technique. It’s really not a bad thing to have too much glute strength. Most runners will have very powerful glutes compared to their overall size and body musculature, This is not so surprising when you consider that during running you are always either completely in the air on one leg. A good sports injury
practitioner should, be able to assess and retrain gluteus medius function.

Anatomy of the Hip

To have your glute activation patterns maximized you want the muscles that attach your thigh higher up on the hip controlling
movement of your thighs rather than muscles that attach lower on your hip. You want the muscles that attach your thigh bone to your hip keeping the head of your femur bone “tight” in the hip socket. When you don’t, you have
glute activation issues. The hip flexors catch lot of flack but they too are important and here’s why:

The hip flexors (psoas) are the most important muscle for hip flexion (moving your leg forward). The most important muscle for extending your hip (moving your leg back) is the gluteus maximus. Both of these muscles obviously attach high on the hip and control the femur bone (upper thigh). When they are in balance with the proper mobility you inherently have good glute activation patterns.

Often, people will have weak hip flexors, when they flex their hip, the muscles that attach lower down on the hip and thigh (such as the tensor fascia lata and rectus femoris), end up doing what the hip flexors should be doing. This also often leads to a posterior pelvic posture (flat-assed posture) that negates good glute and hip flexor activation in favor of hamstring and TFL activation and
allows the head of the femur to slide slightly out of the socket, often causing hip pain.

Excessively tight hip flexors with an anterior rotated pelvis, or a posture where the butt sticks, out can also inhibit glute function, People with tight hip flexors may have issues with hamstring strains and back pain, due to the excessive curve in
the lower back, but from a glute activation standpoint it’s definitely better to have tight hip flexors than weak hip flexors and it’s rather simple to correct the tightness issue.


Muscle Imbalance

In most elete athletes the glutes DO fire correctly, but are not as strong as other lower body muscles (like the quadriceps), causing the body to use other muscles to do what the glutes SHOULD be doing, resulting in decreased performance and often some type of pain or injury in the long term. Whenever you perform a movement such as a squat, lunge, deadlift, jump, sprint, or any exercise that involves several different muscle groups, the majority of work will tend to be done by the strongest of those muscle groups. For example, if you have long arms and strong triceps you’ll probably get little chest contraction out of a bench press. The main problem many athletes have is they naturally have more strength and natural muscle cells in muscles other than their glutes, like their thighs.

Look at the athleticism of athletes that tend to easily develop massive quadriceps. They tend not to be very impressive athletes.  (often) Slow and Ground bound

Many gifted athletes turned bodybuilders will tell you that squats make their butts big and they have a more difficult time getting much lower quadriceps development. That glute dominance is a good thing from an athletic perspective. What happens sometimes is people who don’t naturally have great glute activation patterns and don’t have naturally good muscle balance (ie. Dont have
glutes that are naturally stronger than thighs) get in the weight room and do exercises that SHOULD be strengthening their glutes but they end up strengthening their thighs. When you throw them into an athletic environment the body will naturally use the strongest muscles to control movements, so now their quads and other muscles will want to do what the glutes should be doing.

Quadricep dominant

Tight overactive quads can also have a factor in glute function and are EXTREMELY common. Additionally, if you have knee pain chances are this is one of your major issues.

Quad dominant Athletes often tend to run back on their heels, their 10 and 20 metre  sprints are relatively faster than their 40’s
and 50’s, they often jump better than they sprint, and their strength tends to be ahead of their reactivity.

If you are quad dominant you will probably always test quad dominant to a certain extent. A lot of this is due to genetic structural and muscular qualities. However, shifting attention to your weaknesses can balance you out and increase your performance on movements that you don’t naturally do well on while continuing to push up your performance on those movements that you do.

Injuries caused by weak glutes

  • medial
    tibial stress syndrome or Achilles tendinitis/ shin splints due to the prolonged
    pronation of the foot
  • Hamstring
  • Back  or hip pain
  • Knee pain

For more
information, corrective exercises or an assessment contact


sources used for this article

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