We all know we need to, "strengthen our glutes," but have we stopped to think about why we need to do that other than to look great in a tight pair of jeans?
The answer is because our glutes play a very important role during gait. When we heal strike, ground forces travel up through our ankle, knee and beyond. To brace for impact, our foot supinates (tilts to the outside), compressing our bones to increase its' rigidity. As we bear weight upon it, our foot pronates (tilts to the inside) to absorb the energy into the tissues of our arch. When this happens, our tibia (shin) is forced into internal rotation, causing our femur to internally rotate at an even faster rate. The discrepancy between the rates of tibial and femoral internal rotation stresses the medial side of our knee and our ACL (Anterior Crucial Ligament).
This is where our glutes come in! Their role is to decelerate rotation of our femur during gait to protect the integrity of our knee. As such, we want to keep our glutes strong. One way to do this is to make sure we don't stand in a pronated position (feet sinking into the arches). Another way is to practice, "glute dominance" when doing bend-and-lift movements. This can be accomplished by initiating the movements with a hip-hinge. For more information on how to properly activate our glutes during a body squat, please see my post, "Mechanics of the Body Squat."
|Our glutes protect the integrity of our knee|
Comana, Fabio. "Lower Extremity Movement Mechanics." 2017 IDEA Health & Fitness Association.
Comana, Fabio. "Functional Programming for Stability-Mobility and Movement." ACE Personal Trainer Manual, American Council on Exercise, 2010.