Low Back Gluteal Strengthening
Today, more than ever, individuals are less physically active and sitting down for more extended periods causing the gluteus muscles to be used less and weaken. Weak, inactive, or tightening glutes can cause instability in the lower spine, the hips, and the pelvis to shift out of alignment. This leads to low back and buttock pain. The pain is constantly dull, aching, pulsating, then when moving, getting up, it throbs and stings. Gluteal strengthening exercises can strengthen the muscles and alleviate the pain.
Every individual has a unique physiology. The body develops asymmetrically as the individual favors one side or area of the body over another. This can cause imbalances in the muscular system, leading to awkward positioning that causes pain. The muscle groups that support the lower back consist of the:
- Core muscles
- The gluteal muscle group includes:
- Gluteus Maximus
- Gluteus medius
- Gluteus minimus
- Pelvis muscles
In some cases, the development or lack of level of an individual’s upper back strength can also affect the amount of strain on the lower back.
Gluteal Strengthening Difference
Many joints connect in this area that can have functional problems. The muscles within the lower back need:
- Recovery time
- To be stretched
- Mobility training – example, foam rolling
Stretching allows the body to enhance the limits of its flexibility and mobility. Most of the stretches are involve the hip joint, as this is one of the most effective ways to loosen the gluteal regions. It’s essential to warm the muscles slightly with a light activity while stretching them to elongate naturally.
Seated Figure 4 Stretch
- Sitting in a chair.
- Cross the right leg over the left.
- With the right ankle resting on the left knee.
- It should resemble the number 4.
- Bend forward at the hip, placing slight pressure onto the left leg.
- Hold this stretch for ten-twenty seconds.
- Stretch the other side.
- Placing the left foot on the right knee.
- Repeat this three times.
This yoga pose engages all the muscles along the back. With the glutes at the top in this position, it forces them to activate, allowing them to stretch fully.
- Hold this pose and focus the attention on the glutes.
- Arch the back slightly.
- Feel the stretch in the seat of the glutes.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Lay on the back with feet flat on the floor.
- Knees bent.
- Rear-end resting on the ground.
- Engage the glutes.
- Push the rear-end up to form a bridge.
- Hold for 60 seconds.
- Repeat three times.
Swiss Exercise Stability Ball Wall Squat
Squats naturally engage the glutes. This is a variation on a squat that focuses on developing gluteal strength.
- Stand with the back facing the wall.
- Place a Swiss stability ball between the wall and the back.
- Lean back into the ball for balance.
- Lower the torso until the knees reach 90 degrees.
- Return to standing.
- Repeat for ten reps.
- Do three sets.
Analysis An Effective Tool
Opportunities to increase physical activity lead individuals in a positive direction. The most common reason for reducing and stopping healthy changes is a lack of motivation and feedback. Strategies that provide immediate feedback are essential to:
- Monitor progress for establishing a baseline.
- Set appropriate and attainable goals.
- Track changes over time.
- Ensure success.
Monitoring changes with a simple weight scale or Body Mass Index calculator provides limited ability to accurately track changes that only highlight weight changes and not track progress in muscle gain or fat loss. In less than 45 seconds, the InBody Test provides doctors, trainers, and physical therapists with easy-to-understand, accurate and objective measurements to evaluate body composition that includes:
- Assessing muscle distribution.
- Target areas weakened by condition or injury.
- Identify muscle and fat imbalances in each area of the body.
- Monitor changes to determine the efficacy of the treatment plan, exercise program, and diet plan to ensure long-term success.
Akuthota, Venu et al. “Core stability exercise principles.” Current sports medicine reports vol. 7,1 (2008): 39-44. doi:10.1097/01.CSMR.0000308663.13278.69
Distefano, Lindsay J et al. “Gluteal muscle activation during common therapeutic exercises.” The Journal of orthopedic and sports physical therapy vol. 39,7 (2009): 532-40. doi:10.2519/jospt.2009.2796
Glaviano, Neal R et al. “Gluteal muscle inhibition: Consequences of patellofemoral pain?.” Medical hypotheses vol. 126 (2019): 9-14. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2019.02.046
Jeong, Ui-Cheol et al. “The effects of gluteus muscle strengthening exercise and lumbar stabilization exercise on lumbar muscle strength and balance in chronic low back pain patients.” Journal of physical therapy science vol. 27,12 (2015): 3813-6. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.3813
Macadam, Paul et al. “AN EXAMINATION OF THE GLUTEAL MUSCLE ACTIVITY ASSOCIATED WITH DYNAMIC HIP ABDUCTION AND HIP EXTERNAL ROTATION EXERCISE: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW.” International Journal of sports physical therapy vol. 10,5 (2015): 573-91.
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