1. Health

Get off your duff and work those glutes

MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE   |   Times Ryan Jones demonstrates the Sliding Side Lunge move at the fitness center in the Vinoy Hotel, St. Petersburg.
MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times Ryan Jones demonstrates the Sliding Side Lunge move at the fitness center in the Vinoy Hotel, St. Petersburg.
Published Aug. 18, 2018

What would you believe to be the largest and one of the strongest muscle groups you have? Here are a few clues. It's a muscle group in your lower body that consists of three muscles that can produce tremendous power but are often weak and neglected. The muscle group also plays a pivotal role in the body's overall strength, and, oh yes, is responsible for creating the shape of your buttocks.

The answer is the glutes, a team of three muscles in the buttocks that are responsible for the movement of hips and thighs. The team consists of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, with the gluteus maximus being the main player. The other team members work together as assistants in helping their most valuable player.

Because we are always using the glutes in our daily movements, if we want to become more agile and move with less stress, it's important to keep the team strong and healthy. To avoid the negative effect that excessive sitting can have on the glutes, try to strengthen that backside two or three times a week. And be sure to add a little variety to your routine. Functional body weight training such as the bridge, lunges and squats are effective exercises when using proper form.

Why are strong glutes so important?

A strong glutes team is essential for:

• A healthy lower back. Weak glutes can lead to a lack of hip mobility, which can result in lower back pain.

• Stability in the pelvis when you are walking or running. Having an unstable pelvis can place too much pressure on your ankles and knees.

• Good posture. Strong glutes help prevent slouching by giving the back more support.

• Promoting balance.

• Helping you maintain the correct form while performing weight training exercises. Strong glutes help support the lower back when lifting.

• Improving speed, agility, endurance and power in many athletic activities. Quick side-to-side movements will be much easier to perform, for example.

• Preventing pulled muscles in your hamstrings and groin. When glutes are not strong enough to give you support during your activities, you will be transferring that support and placing more stress on the hamstrings and surrounding muscles.

Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Sally Anderson is happy to hear from readers but can't respond to individual inquiries. Contact her at


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