- Does clenching your bum tone it?
- All about those glutes
- Perform the butt-gripping exercise
- Most effective glute exercises
- Body of Knowledge: Anatomy of the Glutes
- Yoga for Glutes: 3 Tips for Using Your Butt When Backbending
- Do You Have Strong Glute Muscles—or Gluteal Amnesia?
- 4 Yoga Poses for Strong Glutes
- Posterior Pelvic Tilt and Squat Depth
- 13 Dec Posterior Pelvic Tilt and Squat Depth
- Been struggling with anterior pelvic tilt and want to learn the right way to fix it? You’ve come to the right place. This article provides easy to follow exercises and step by step methods to follow to fix anterior pelvic tilt.
- Why Is Anterior Pelvic Tilt Bad For You?
- What Exactly is Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
- What Does Anterior Pelvic Tilt Look Like?
- How Do I Know If I Suffer From Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
- What Causes Anterior Pelvic tilt?
- Cause 1: Prolonged Sitting With Poor Posture
- Cause 2: Physical Inactivity
- Cause 3: Genetic Predispositions (Bone Structure)
- Cause 4: Poor Exercise Technique (Excessive Lower Back Arching During Squat Or Deadlift)
- Cause 4: Imbalanced Strength Training (Not Enough Glutes/Ab Training)
- Cause 5: Muscle Imbalances From Sports
- Cause 6: Foot Pronation
- There’s Individual Variation Involved In ‘Normal’ Levels Of Tilt
- The “Science” Behind Fixing Anterior Pelvic Tilt
- Principle 1: Stretching The Overactive Muscles
- Principle 2: Strengthening The Underactive Muscles
- Step 1: Learn How To Posterior Pelvic Tilt
- Exercise 1: Lying Pelvic Tilts
- Exercise 2: Standing Pelvic Tilts
- Step 2: Strengthen The Glutes And Abdominals
- Exercise 1: Bodyweight Hip Thrusts
- Exercise 2: RKC Plank
- Step 3: Stretching the Hip Flexors
- Exercise 1: Psoas Stretch
- Exercise 2: Rectus Femoris Stretch
- Exercise 3: Laying Down Iliopsoas Stretch
- Step 4: Implement This Into A Daily Corrective Routine
- Squat Mobility
- Want a Bigger Butt? Add These 11 Exercises to Your Home Workout
- 11 Exercises to Make Your Butt Bigger
- Anatomy of the Butt
- Eating for a Bigger Booty
- One Dangerous Mistake You Could Be Making During Squats and Deadlifts
- What’s the problem?
- How to Maintain Proper Posture While Lifting
- The Flat Butt
- The Droopy Butt
- The Bubble Butt
- Get Engaged
- Half Moon Pose
- Downward Facing Dog Leg Lifts
- But what if you can’t squeeze your butt?
- Put a pin in that idea, we’re going to come back to it.
- Sitting—like any other thing we do regularly—is a form of training your body.
- Enter the Circus
- That idea I said we’d come back to: It’s time to get those glutes working!
- Hellooo glutes!
- And then, it’s time to make those glutes stronger!
- WHEN AND WHY YOU SHOULD SQUEEZE YOUR BUTT (DURING EXERCISE)
- WHY YOU SHOULD SQUEEZE YOUR BUTT
- WHERE TO PUT YOUR BUTT
- A BUTT-STUFF FAVOR
- ANOTHER FAVOR
Does clenching your bum tone it?
A strong and fit rear not only looks good, but also helps in many of the movements you do during the day, such as stopping, bending, climbing stairs. Therefore, participating in some gluteal exercises while stuck in a seat at work, traveling or just watching television can be very attractive.
Enter butt pressing. The action of squeezing, then releasing, your buttocks, that is, the buttocks to the fullest, can help strengthen the muscles, but it will not give you the firmness or the shape of an exercise in the way that lunges or squats will do.
Related: Brazilian Butt Lift Workout for Women – better buttocks
However, strengthening the benefits of routine squeeze may be worth it. If your buttocks are weak, your body may try to compensate for the use of other muscles during these actions, which could cause problems such as back, hip or knee pain, and nobody wants that.
All about those glutes
The muscles of the butt, also called glute muscles or buttocks, include the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus. The gluteus maximus forms most of the gluteal region. You can locate the gluteus maximus by placing one hand on each of your buttocks.
This muscle acts as a powerful extensor of the hip and participates in lateral rotation and adduction, as when you kick the leg to the side or turn and extend the leg behind you. The gluteus medius and minimus muscles are layered below the gluteus maximus.
In addition to helping in hip movements, these smaller muscles are also important postural muscles, which maintain the level of the pelvis while walking. When you do the butt grips on your seat, you are mainly activating the gluteus maximus, a muscle that is worth aiming for. When weak, the muscles along the lower spine, as well as the hamstrings, are often overcompensated. That can result in back strain and spinal misalignment.
Perform the butt-gripping exercise
The movement of a gluteal grip is quite small; essentially, it reduces the size of the buttocks inwards from the sides. While sitting in your seat, tense and squeeze your butt, aiming to rise slightly while you remain seated. The slight elevation should be the result of the tension of the gluteal muscles and not of leaning forward or pressing the feet.
Does not inadvertently tense the muscles of the thighs or hamstrings. Keep your legs relaxed and only your butt tense. Hold the pressure for five seconds, then relax the muscles for five seconds. Each squeeze and release is considered a repetition. Make two sets of 30 repetitions each day. As muscle strength improves, increase the amount of time each squeeze holds, aiming for 10 seconds or more.
Most effective glute exercises
When the American Council on Exercise asked ACE-certified personal trainers which exercise provided the fastest route to get to strong and developed gluts, the overwhelming consensus was that of squats. This response, however, was merely opinion. Then, ACE funded a study to conclusively determine which exercise is most effective for toning the buttocks.
During the investigation, the subjects performed a variety of gluteal exercises when the researchers compared activity in three different muscles: the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius and the hamstrings. The results showed that the traditional squat is, in fact, especially effective, but so are five additional exercises: one-legged squats, quadruped hip extensions, step-ups, strides and four-way hip extensions.
And if you are very serious about losing weight, you must try a Free weight loss kickstart, nothing to lose, and all the world to gain.
Here’s a breakdown of the glute muscles, which are the primary players in many of the movements that make it possible to do yoga.
For many people, appearance is the top priority when it comes to their posterior. But yoga practitioners also know that the glute muscles can do so much more than look great in jeans: They’re the primary players in many of the movements that make it possible to do yoga. The gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus—along with many other smaller, supporting muscles—act as a base of support for the pelvis and hips. What’s more, these hard-working muscles stabilize your femur (thighbone) in your hip socket, rotate your femur internally and externally, and draw your leg back. And yes, all of these actions also help us stand and walk, and even support us when we sit.
Unfortunately, there are a number of ways we jeopardize the health of this important muscle group. For starters, our increasingly sedentary lifestyles are leading to what experts call “gluteal amnesia,” in which the butt muscles become overstretched and underused (read: weak). On the flip side, it’s also possible to overuse and overexert these muscles—whether we’re excessively clenching the tush in certain asanas, such as Warrior II or Wheel Pose, or pushing too hard while running or hiking. Not only do under- or overworked glutes affect range of motion in the hips and sacrum, but strength imbalances can also lead to instability or pain when we’re on our mats.
Body of Knowledge: Anatomy of the Glutes
The gluteals are made up of three layers of muscles:
This muscle sits partway under the gluteus maximus and connects the ilium (hip bone) to the side of the upper femur. It helps you externally rotate your leg when it’s extended behind you, and internally rotate your hip when your leg is flexed in front of you. Together with the gluteus minimus, this muscle abducts the hip (moves it outward). This is your chief “side stepping” muscle.
This is the biggest of the gluteals, and it attaches to the side of the sacrum and femur. It’s responsible for extending and externally rotating the hip joint. The maximus creates forward thrust as you walk, run, and rise from a squat.
A smaller muscle located under the gluteus medius, the minimus helps you abduct, flex, and internally rotate the hip. You’ll use this muscle when you make circular movements with your thigh.
Underneath these three main gluteal muscles are what are commonly referred to as the “deep six” or “lateral rotator group,” all of which externally rotate the femur in the hip joint. These muscles include:
- Obturator internus (not pictured)
- Quadratus Femoris
- Gemellus inferior
- Obturator externus
- Gemellus superior
See also Anatomy 101: Balance Mobility + Stability in Your Hip Joints
Your glute muscles can help you mitigate excessive spinal compression in backbends.
Yoga for Glutes: 3 Tips for Using Your Butt When Backbending
The gluteus maximus can be your best friend when it comes to safely performing backbends. Yet overusing this big muscle by clenching your butt as you backbend can lead to irritation and injury in the spine and sacroiliac (SI) joint. In order to mitigate excessive spinal compression in backbends, it’s helpful to use the buttocks and adductors (inner thighs) to support the weight of the pelvis, hips, and spine. Work on the following actions:
STEP ONE Make sure your feet are parallel to one another—and that the hips and legs are not externally rotated, which compresses the SI joint and causes the sacrum to tilt forward (nutation), possibly leading to pain.
STEP TWO Activate your inner thighs to ensure that the gluteus maximus does not turn the hips outward. Squeeze a block between your thighs in almost any backbend to train your adductors to “turn on.”
STEP THREE Contract your gluteals in order to posteriorly tilt (tuck) your pelvis while simultaneously activating your abdominals as if doing Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose). This will minimize lumbar compression and transfer more of the backbending action into vertebrae higher up the spine.
See also Firm + Tone Glutes for a Safer, Stronger Practice
Chair Pose puts stress on your glute muscles, which helps you build strength and overall endurance.
Do You Have Strong Glute Muscles—or Gluteal Amnesia?
Are you sitting right now? Squeeze your buttocks, then release them: You should feel them tighten, then slacken. While slack muscles aren’t necessarily a bad thing—all of our muscles shouldn’t be firing at all times, after all—resting all of your body weight on your slack glute muscles (as you do when you sit) creates a lengthening of the fascial tissues within and surrounding the glutes, which weakens the gluteals’ natural tension. When the buttocks are excessively weak, the quadriceps and hip flexors have to work harder to compensate, and these muscular imbalances often sneakily follow us onto our mats to cause problems and pain. Want help? Try these poses:
4 Yoga Poses for Strong Glutes
Warrior Pose III, with squats (Virabhadrasana III)
All of the gluteals must work to perform this movement—the “deep six” external rotators keep each side of the pelvis stable in spite of the different actions in each hip, and the larger gluteals add additional support for the hips. This move forces your buttock muscles to shore up their connection from the thighs through to the lower back to keep the hips and spine stable.
How to From High Lunge with your left foot in front, stretch your arms forward, parallel to your mat and to each other, palms facing one another. As you exhale, press the left thighbone back and the left heel actively into the floor; straighten your left leg and lift the back leg to come into Warrior III. Keep your pelvis level as you bend your left knee slightly (shown), then straighten it. Repeat 6–8 times without letting the spine, shoulders, or pelvis change their relationship to one another. If you can’t balance, place your fingers on a wall and allow them to slide up and down as you move. Repeat on the other side.
Learn more about Warrior Pose III
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About Our Pros
Writer Jill Miller is the co-founder of Tune Up Fitness Worldwide and author of The Roll Model. She has presented case studies at the Fascia Research Congress and the International Symposium of Yoga Therapists, and she teaches at fitness and yoga conferences worldwide. Learn more at yogatuneup.com.
Model Chelsea Jackson Roberts, PhD, is an Atlanta-based yoga teacher. She founded chelsealovesyoga.com, a platform for discussion on yoga, race, and diversity.
Posterior Pelvic Tilt and Squat Depth
13 Dec Posterior Pelvic Tilt and Squat Depth
Posted at 15:57h in Hip, Low Back by Michael Lau
Everyone has a slightly different bony anatomy. Whether it’s a longer femur, bent shin (tibial torsion), or a rotated hip socket (acetabular retroversion), your anatomy, in addition to your functional goals, should ultimately drive squat depth. So how deep or low should you squat? From an injury prevention and biomechanical perspective, there is only one thing that should matter – posterior pelvic tilt.
Posterior pelvic tilt shown on the left
Normal hip flexion range of motion is approximately 120 degrees. This is when the femur abuts against the hip bone, or pelvis. When we squat deeply past 120°, as shown below, where do we magically get more range of motion? The pelvis! The pelvis posteriorly tilts to allow more room for the femur to flex. Also known as the tuck under or butt wink, a posterior pelvic tilt is a naturally occurring phenomenon. However, an excessive posterior pelvic tilt can potentially become a problem when we add an excessive load, or weight, during a squat movement.
Quadruped Squat Assessement – Finding Your Posterior Pelvic Tilt
Because our legs (femurs), hips (pelvis), and spine (vertebral column) are all connected, movement of one bone will undoubtedly affect the others. When we posterior pelvic tilt, our lumbar spine flexes. The most important fundamental of good squat mechanics is to maintain neutral spine position. The moment we excessively posteriorly pelvic tilt, we automatically lose neutral spine position and dump into flexion. Significantly increased spinal flexion under load over time (YES, all these factors must be present) is detrimental for your back for two reasons:
1) Biomechanically speaking, it increases the lever arm of the back extensors. Thus, our back extensors must work much harder to keep our torso upright. Increased muscle activation of the back extensors increases the shear and compression loads on each vertebra, and over time, can lead to problems down the road.
2) The intradiscal pressure inside of each of your intervertebral discs increases tremendously in a flexed spine position. Additionally, the thinnest portion (posterior aspect) of the annulus fibrosis, or wall of the intervertebral disc, is tensioned in a flexed spine position. Our intervertebral discs are meant to withstand compression, not tension!
Remember, posterior pelvic tilt occurs naturally at end range hip flexion – so a little posterior pelvic tilt is expected during a squat movement (more than likely you will observe a return to neutral pelvis position). However, it is when posterior pelvic tilt occurs excessively during a squat movement under high loads and high repetitions, that you should begin to worry about the additional compression you are placing on your back.
READ: Parallel or Full Squat for Highest Glute EMG?
Furthermore, from a functional perspective, will you ever have to perform a deep squat in everyday tasks? Training specificity is important. Unless your occupation or sport requires you to perform a deep squat, there’s no point in training your body to squat all the way to the ground under load repetitively and risk back injury.
READ: Increase your Hip Mobility to Increase Squat Depth.
Nachemson, Alf, and James Morris. “Lumbar Discometry Lumbar Intradiscal Pressure Measurements In Vivo.” The Lancet 281.7291 (1963): 1140-142.
February 6, 2014
Written by Dr. Quinn Henoch
Okay the title is ridiculous. Though, whether on the competition platform or when training for your respective sport, ones bottom position in the squat can tell you a lot about an athlete. I want to focus on a common movement pattern that some utilize to attain “proper depth”. I’m talking about lumbar flexion/posterior pelvic tilt at or near the bottom of the squat. That’s right – the dreaded BUTT WINK.
Recently, I discovered that there is a “Pro-Butt Wink” camp. The rationale being that a posterior pelvic tilt in the bottom of the squat puts the gluteus maximus in a more advantageous position for elastic rebound. If I don’t think about it very hard, this almost makes sense. To me, however, the reward is not worth the long-term risk. There seems to be plenty of literature pointing to the fact that loaded flexion is not such a good thing1-4 So wink away if that’s your thing; but I’d rather just cue a good ‘ole braced neutral spine. Now, are positions always going to be perfect on the competition platform or the field on game day? Of course not. You do what you have to do to win; and there is always a buffer zone or range of movement that certain athletes can get away with relatively unscathed. 5 This is especially the case in Olympic weightlifting where the dynamic mobility demands are so extreme. Does that mean we should not strive for optimal positions in training? Absolutely not.
I am not going to say much about this. Personally, it bores me to talk about things that cannot be changed. There have been a couple recent articles floating around explaining the fact that everyone’s bony structure is different, and everyone’s squat position will and should not look the same. Of course, I acknowledge that this is true. However, I’m getting the sense that some are using this as an excuse to have a shitty squat. So for the rest of this particular article, we are going to focus on things that we can change.
3 Common Causes of The Butt Wink
So why do people use this pattern? Poor joint mobility? Poor muscle flexibility? Poor motor control/stability? The answer is YES. It can be any combination of these. We will discuss a few common causes, and the interventions will focus mostly on joint mobility and muscle flexibility. This is because trying to stabilize a system that can’t move in the first place is equal to the proverbial piss in the wind. Just know that sufficient motor control and stability is the end goal, and the subject for a future installment.
Cause #1: An initial set up position highlighted by excessive anterior pelvic tilt and lumbar lordosis
If you start the lift in a poor position, it’s damn near impossible to correct in the middle. Usually it will just get worse. Especially with 550 on your back, like you had last week when you were training out of town. Your phone died though, so you couldn’t get video. Anyway, what we see often is that people set their backs and hips with too much low back arch. This arch only increases as they descend. Then as the person approaches parallel, his or her femur and pelvis meet. The result is a posterior tilt and round back to achieve more depth – AKA a butt wink. A common complaint from the athlete may be a pinching feeling in the front of the hip. This is not a surprise considering they are smashing tissue between two bones. Again, while ultimately this may be a motor control fix, let’s first address mobilizing a lumbar spine stuck in extension, and short anterior hip musculature that can tug on the low back and tip the pelvis forward. Hyperextension in the back squat descent has been shown in the literature as well.6 See the video below for a test/retest and two corrective drills.
Been struggling with anterior pelvic tilt and want to learn the right way to fix it? You’ve come to the right place. This article provides easy to follow exercises and step by step methods to follow to fix anterior pelvic tilt.
Anterior pelvic tilt, also known as “lower crossed syndrome, is becoming more prominent nowadays because of two reasons:
- The increased amount of sedentary time and
- Poor postural habits we’ve adapted because of the lifestyles most of us lead.
Why Is Anterior Pelvic Tilt Bad For You?
However, it’s not something that should simply be ignored. Because not only can it lead to lower back discomfort, but it can also cause inhibition of the gluteal muscle group. And that includes the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.
The sum of these effects then leads to a reduced range of motion at the joint. And reduced force production capabilities. Pain and discomfort can be chronic by-products of joint inflexibility. Also, reduced force production can hamper gym performance. Or more specifically, key compound movements such as deadlifts and squats can be effected.
Here’s the outline of the article:
- What anterior pelvic tilt is
- What causes some of the negative consequences associated with the condition
- The four essential steps to easily correct anterior pelvic tilt
- A 10-minute corrective routine to reduce anterior pelvic tilt; this can be used daily
Without further ado, let’s get started.
What Exactly is Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
The pelvis is a composite bone formed by multiple bones:
- Sacrum and coccyx posteriorly
- ilium, ischium, and pubis anteriorly
The bones of the pelvis are firmly fused through fibrous joints to provide stability. That’s because this critical region is utilized for almost all bodily movements. The pelvis provides key functions such as articulating the head of the femur. The head of the femur attaches to the acetabulum and is covered by two key ligaments. The ischiofemoral and the iliofemoral ligaments.
What Does Anterior Pelvic Tilt Look Like?
Forward tilting of the pelvic girdle, as the entire region is called, alters an individual’s postural pattern, where the:
- Hips will be pushed back
- Glutes will stick back to a greater than normal extent, and
- Abdomen to stick out in front
The sum effect of these changes results in the accentuation of the arch in one’s lower back. A curvature in the lower spine occurs normally. But can be accentuated by multiple factors (covered in the next few paragraphs) and lead to a more pronounced concave curvature in the lumbar region of the spine.
How Do I Know If I Suffer From Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
The anterior pelvic tilt is relatively well-characterized. Here are its common symptoms:
- Lower back pain (Youdas et al. 2000)
- Chronic lower back tightness
- Knee hyperextension when standing
- Low activation of gluteal muscles
- Tight hamstring muscles
A visual assessment of one’s normal relaxed posture (use above picture as a guide), in combination with these listed symptoms, can be used to self diagnose anterior pelvic tilt. Do not fret if you suffer from this condition. It’s relatively easy to acquire and also relatively easy to correct! Read on to see how.
What Causes Anterior Pelvic tilt?
There are numerous causes for anterior pelvic tilt. If you identify the underlying root of the problem, it becomes much easier to reduce the causing factors and correct the issues at the source:
Cause 1: Prolonged Sitting With Poor Posture
Many people’s jobs (or hobbies) necessitates prolonged sitting. This in itself has been associated with numerous health risks. Sitting with improper posture, in an anteriorly pelvic tilted position, can cause numerous musculoskeletal problems.
Cause 2: Physical Inactivity
Strengthening the muscles which control body posture through targeted, regular exercise can alleviate postural issues.
Cause 3: Genetic Predispositions (Bone Structure)
The pelvis is a complex joint that is kept stable by numerous muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The bones which make up the pelvis (and the placement/strength etc. of these fibrous tissues) are often genetically controlled.
Cause 4: Poor Exercise Technique (Excessive Lower Back Arching During Squat Or Deadlift)
Improper form keeps your trainer up at night… it also causes numerous postural issues which have themselves have knock-on effects.
Cause 4: Imbalanced Strength Training (Not Enough Glutes/Ab Training)
Training all the muscles in the body, and focusing on muscles on both sides of joints is key to a well balanced workout routine. Postural muscles are often harder to train and thus overlooked when planning a gym routine.
Cause 5: Muscle Imbalances From Sports
Sports often accentuate the work of some muscles over others. These imbalances in strength can give rise to numerous problems that can materialize in different ways.
Cause 6: Foot Pronation
Many postural issues start at the ground. Improper foot ergonomics can have knock-on effects. That’s because they negatively impact posture. And necessitate compensatory adjustments in the rest of the body.
Despite all of these potential contributory factors, anterior pelvic tilt most commonly arises nowadays due to extended periods of sitting with improper posture. Look at the images below.
- Left: Exhibiting anterior pelvic tilt when sitting
- Right: Exhibits posterior pelvic tilt in a similar sitting position
- Neutral: Falls somewhere between the two extremes and is ideal!
It’s important to note that a slight anterior pelvic tilt is perfectly normal. Research shows that about 85% of healthy males and 75% of healthy females exhibit a slight anterior pelvic tilt.
A “normal” degree of tilt looks something like the below photo.
There’s Individual Variation Involved In ‘Normal’ Levels Of Tilt
Despite that, problems can start to arise in those who have a more prominent anterior pelvic tilt. Bodies respond differently to strain and what may be a normal level of tilt. And well-tolerated in an individual may cause significant postural discomfort in another. These discomforts can compound when those with excessive anterior pelvic tilt lift weights. More specifically, weight training that focuses on the muscles of the lower back/pelvic girdle can push an already unbalanced muscle core over the edge.
Performing loaded movements like the squat and deadlift with an anterior pelvic tilt accentuates and focuses the stress on the lower back. It also reduces the amount of force that can be produced during the exercise. Prolonged activity can result in tightness of the lower back and pain.
This chronic tightness can prevent:
- Regular progression in the gym. You won’t be able to lift heavier weight
- Proper activation of the gluteal muscles, which are integral to multiple exercises deadlifts
If this is the case for you, its certainly something that should be corrected sooner than later. It’s not just to reduce the amount of discomfort associated with the condition. But also to allow for improvements in the gym that accompany progressive increases in force production.
The “Science” Behind Fixing Anterior Pelvic Tilt
Before diving into the quick and easy corrective routine, it is important to know the reasoning for and the evidence behind it.
Research indicates that over time, certain muscles become overactive and others become underactive. The imbalance which results leads to anterior pelvic tilt.
In a typical scenario:
- These muscles are weakened – The abs (rectus abdominus, transverses abdominus, internal obliques, and external obliques), as well as the glutes (maximus, medius, and minimus)
- These muscles become overactive – The hipflexor muscles (iliacus, psoas, and recuts femoris) and erector spinae muscle group.
The muscles in question can be seen in the photo shown below. It does not take an extensive understanding of human anatomy to see that the imbalance caused by over/underactivation of the highlighted muscle groups can cause a forward tilting of the pelvic girdle.
How does one go about solving this issue? You should focus on the two overlying principles listed below:
Principle 1: Stretching The Overactive Muscles
Focus on the hip flexors. Tightness in the erector spinae is a consequence, rather than cause for the forward-tilted pelvis. Therefore, working on the iliopsoas muscles which bring about hip flexion is key. Your hamstrings may also feel tight if you suffer from anterior pelvic tilt. Tightness in this muscle group is also a consequence of, rather than a cause for the abnormal tilt in the pelvic girdle.
Stretching the hamstrings, while beneficial on its own will not alleviate the problem. Why? Because the position of your pelvis when in anterior pelvic tilt “pre-stretches” the hamstrings. Which gives you the false impression that they’re tight. Often times, stretching them will do more harm than good.
Principle 2: Strengthening The Underactive Muscles
As mentioned previously, the abdominal muscle group and the glutes are the two main muscles you should focus on strengthening to alleviate the cause of anterior pelvic tilt. People with anterior pelvic tilt will often have trouble activating the glutes and relaxing the hip flexors. With that said, the cause of weakness is apparent. Given this propensity, caution should be exercised in strengthening the underactive musculature around the pelvic girdle.
The routine outlined below is carefully selected to maximize glute activation. And is specific to the issues faced by those with anterior pelvic tilt.
Step 1 of the prescribed corrective routine will focus on learning how to properly maneuver your pelvis. This preamble is absolutely necessary prior to implement exercises that are listed below and available elsewhere online. These exercises on their own will not prove beneficial unless you have the control required to manipulate pelvic position.
So without further ado, let’s delve into the details of our 4 step process.
Step 1: Learn How To Posterior Pelvic Tilt
You will need to first learn how to properly posteriorly tilt your pelvis. If you don’t, your body will cheat when performing corrective stretches and exercises. As you can imagine, this will not prove beneficial to you.
Exercise 1: Lying Pelvic Tilts
One easy way to learn to posterior tilt your pelvis is to practice this movement while lying on the ground. The support provided by the ground and the increased stability in this position is an ideal way to transition into the more complex exercises soon to follow.
- Begin by simply lying on your back with knees flexed and pointed upwards. You’ll likely notice that there is a space between your lower back and the ground.
- Flatten your lower back as you push it towards the ground. At the same time, squeeze (and activate) your glutes. Be sure to tilt your pelvis to allow for this movement to happen. This action is called the posterior pelvic tilt.
- Then, go back to the starting position by relaxing your glutes. Tilt your hip in the upward direction. And move your back away from the ground. Doing so creates a space between your lower back and the ground.
- You are now in an anterior pelvic tilt.
The photo above shows the anteriorly tilted position. And below shows the posterior pelvic tilted position.
By going back and forth between the two positions (for about 10 repetitions), you will begin to become comfortable in controlling the tilt of your pelvis. This exercise can be repeated throughout the day. Or daily as the need varies, until sufficient comfort has been achieved.
Exercise 2: Standing Pelvic Tilts
Here, you want to repeat the previously discussed exercise in the standing position. The exercise is now less controlled. You no longer have the support and stability gained by performing the exercise on the ground. Despite this change, the movement is nearly identical. Mastering exercise 1 will allow you to perform exercise 2 with much greater ease.
- Stand relaxed with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Then, squeeze the glutes to come into posterior pelvic tilt
Exercise 2 is shown with the top picture (number 1) showing the anterior pelvic tilted position and the bottom picture (number 2) showing the posterior tilted pelvic position. The blue arrows indicate the direction of movement of the lower back and glutes in the picture.
The backward movement of the lower back and tilting of the pelvic girdle in the posterior direction will move you from the anterior to the posterior tilted position. The opposite movement will then return the body to the anterior tilted position. You can repeat this movement multiple times (about 10 repetitions) to attain the desired results. You can do so throughout the day or on successive days if you like.
Step 2: Strengthen The Glutes And Abdominals
Step 1 focused on learning to tilt your pelvis posteriorly. The strength and control gained in those introductory steps can be used to move towards strengthening exercises for the gluteal and abdominal muscle groups.
Exercise 1: Bodyweight Hip Thrusts
The first exercise maintains and targets the glutes! The hip thrust is an excellent exercise that can be performed unloaded to target one of the two main muscle groups involved in anterior pelvic tilt.
The key, however, is to do the exercise properly.
The picture below will help better visualize the movement.
- Begin by having your shoulder on the bench with your feet on the ground.
- Then, move your hips in the upward direction and towards the ceiling. Your shoulder blades should not leave the bench. You should place your feet such that your shins are still vertical when the upward movement is completed.
It may take a few attempts to figure out how far from the bench to place your feet initially. The body will try to compensate for a lack of stability through the range of this movement by arching the lower back. You need to be conscious of this compensation and avoid it at all costs. Only then can you activate the desired muscle group; namely the glutes.
What’s The Key To Performing Bodyweight Hip Thrusts?
The key to successfully completing this movement is:
- To keep your lower back straight
- And to posteriorly tilting your pelvis throughout the whole movement as discussed in part 1
Posterior tilting of the pelvis should allow your body to line up, so that you should be able to draw a straight line from your head to your knees. You should also be squeezing the glutes and feeling them contract.
An alternative is to use glute bridges (with your back on the floor) and applying the same protocol. The goal is to eventually build up to posterior pelvic tilt with a weighted protocol. Only then will that allow for the greater strengthening of the glutes with continued application over time.
Exercise 2: RKC Plank
The next exercise focuses on strengthening the abdominal muscle group. This is the second half of those involved in tilting of the pelvis.
There are many different exercises out there that seek to target the abs. Those that suffer from anterior pelvic tilt should select exercises that minimize the involvement of the hip flexors. As discussed previously, these muscles are already more active than they should be.
Why Are RKC Planks Beneficial?
An example of a great exercise that ticks all of the boxes is the RKC plank. RKC planks are very similar to the standard plank. But are especially beneficial for those with anterior pelvic tilt. That’s because they help work on everything we want:
- Better engage the abdominal muscle group
- Help minimize involvement of the hip-flexors
- And help strengthen the gluteal muscle group
EMG analysis of muscle activity by Bret Contreras showed that compared to the standard plank, the RKC plank resulted in:
- 4x higher lower abdominal muscle activation and
- 2x higher internal oblique activation
But, as always, the key is to perform these planks properly. Only then can you gain the maximum benefit.
What Muscles Do The RKC Planks Activate?
RKC plank demonstrated with the key target groups highlighted in red and labeled. Note the hands are interlocked, the feet are slightly wider than shoulder width apart, and the pelvis is posteriorly tilted to allow for greater activation of the glutes and abdominal muscles.
How To Properly Perform The RKC Plank
Here are some key points to keep in mind to ensure the proper execution of this exercise:
- Set up as you would in a standard plank, with elbows and feet shoulder-width apart. Only this time, with your hands interlocked and your feet slightly wider than normal.
- Activate your abdominals by consciously attempting to draw your belly button towards your spine (in the upwards direction).
- Then, posteriorly pelvic tilt your hips by squeezing your glutes and continue to keep them contracted as you hold the plank. This should be a familiar motion to you by now. Use what you learned and practiced in the two exercises in step 1.
- Hold this position for as long as possible. Be sure not to let your lower back arch and continue to activate your glutes. Keep track of the time.
You can increase the time in small increments for subsequent iterations. Nonetheless, you still need to remain conscious of performing each component properly.
Step 3: Stretching the Hip Flexors
Multiple studies have shown that stretching the overactive hip flexor muscles can help reduce the degree of anterior pelvic tilt over time. And lead to alleviation of tension and pain in this region.
Exercise 1: Psoas Stretch
The first stretch is the “lunge stretch”. This stretch is one that many people know, but do not perform correctly. When done properly this stretch allows one to focus on the psoas muscle.
How To Properly Perform The Psoas Stretch
To properly perform this stretch, use the following tips:
- Get into a lunge position. Bend both knees at 90 degrees.
- Contract your abdominal muscles. You can do so by thinking about drawing your belly button towards your spine. Make sure to move your hips into the posterior pelvic tilt position. The goal of this is to feel a deep stretch in the hip flexors in your back leg. Many will find initially that this position already provides a sufficient amount of stretching. Look at picture 1.
- For a deeper stretch, maintain your position of posterior pelvic tilt and lean forward slightly while contracting your abdominal muscles. Look at picture 2.
- For an even deeper stretch, the trunk region (upper body) can be rotated in the opposite direction from your forward planted leg. These steps can be progressed to after a few sessions of more basic stretching. This is because they require greater comfort with stretch and postural stability. Look at picture 3.
- Repeat the same stretch with the other foot in front, making sure to focus on the posture. To avoid having to count or time, hold each side for about 10 deep breaths.
Exercise 2: Rectus Femoris Stretch
The goal of the second stretch shown here is to specifically target the rectus femoris. This, along with the iliopsoas, makes up the hip flexors. In general, this muscle is tighter than the iliopsoas in those with anterior pelvic tilt.
How To Perform The Rectus Femoris Stretch
In order to perform this stretch:
- Plant your forward foot firmly on the ground. Bend your knees, with the back foot with contact to the ground at the knee (see picture below). For greater stability, support the back foot with a bench or couch.
- Contract your abdominal core. You can do so by drawing your belly button towards your spine. And moving your hips into posterior pelvic tilt position, which you are now familiar.
As you achieve this position, you should feel a deep stretch down the front of your thigh. You can slightly move forward and away from the bench so that your back knee is less bent for less of a stretch or move closer to the bench for more of a stretch.
Stretching the rectus femoris muscle which is part of the quadriceps and crosses the hip joint to participate in hip joint flexion. Here are two alternatives: using a bench (left) and without a bench (right).
You can also perform the same stretch without the use of a bench. Hold onto something for balance and then pull your back leg up towards your buttocks. Change the forward leg and hold each side for about 10 deep breaths.
Exercise 3: Laying Down Iliopsoas Stretch
- Sit on the edge of your bed. Your feet should hang off the edge of the bed and be flat on the ground. This is how you can prepare for the stretch.
- Lay on your back on the bed. Your feet should still hang over the edge. And possibly planted on the ground, depending on the height of the bed and length of your legs.
- Lift one leg off the ground and bend the knee.
- Move your thigh as close as possible to your chest. You can use both hands interlocked together and wrapped around this leg to keep it in place (close to the chest). The lifted leg will be stretching in the gluteal region and upper hamstring.
What’s The Focus Of The Laying Down Iliopsoas Stretch?
The main focus of this position and our goal is to stretch the iliopsoas muscle in the leg still hanging over the edge of the bed. By virtue of lifting one leg, the other leg is passively stretched as the iliopsoas muscle is lengthened. You just have to let gravity do the work!
And while in this position, implement the posterior tilting of the pelvic girdle which you have mastered previously.
To increase the amount of stretch:
- Pull the bent leg closer to the chest
- And/or thrust your hip in the upward direction, towards the ceiling, as done in exercise one.
Use the number of breaths you take to measure the duration of time. Hold the pose with each leg for 10 deep breaths, then alternate and stretch the other leg.
Step 4: Implement This Into A Daily Corrective Routine
To sum this article up, here’s a corrective routine utilizing all of the exercises I previously discussed. You can use this list to implement the set of stretches and exercises into your daily routine.
Lying Pelvic Tilts: 1 set of 10 reps
Standing Pelvic Tilts: 1 set of 10 reps
Bodyweight Hip Thrusts: 3 sets of 10+ reps
RKC Plank: 2 sets of max holds
Lunge Stretch: 2 sets of 30 second holds each leg
Rectus Femoris Stretch: 2 sets of 30 second holds each leg
And I’ve also made a free PDF of the anterior pelvic tilt corrective routine which comes complete with exercise pictures, tips, and progression exercises so that you always have something convenient to refer to when performing the routine.
Click the button below to access the PDF anterior pelvic tilt corrective routine for free:
When it comes to correcting anterior pelvic tilt, frequency and diligence are the most important factors that will determine your success in correcting your pelvic tilt. You can do these exercises at home. So, try your best to do these daily. If you do that, you’ll quickly start to notice significant improvements.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should always be aware of how your posture is throughout the day and while in the gym. If you sit or stand for extended periods during the day, then use what you’ve learned in this article to keep your pelvis in more of a neutral position. This is what’s going to prevent your anterior pelvic tilt from worsening or coming back after it has been corrected!
Similarly, when performing movements like the squat and the deadlift in the gym, you need to teach yourself how to maintain a neutral pelvis… AVOID ARCHING YOUR BACK!!! This will help you with strength improvement, especially in your leg workouts.
And for a step-by-step program designed to accommodate your schedule and show you exactly how to build muscle and correct postural issues through the use of science, then:
Click the button below to take my analysis quiz to discover the best program for you:
Anyways, that’s it for this article. Hope you all enjoyed it. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions down below. And give me a follow on Instagram , Facebook , and Youtube where I’ll be posting informative content on a more regular basis. Cheers!
By the way, here’s the article summed up into a YouTube video:
How to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt in 4 Simple Steps (Daily Corrective Routine) Enter your email below to receive your Free Anterior Pelvic Tilt PDF Routine.
I’ve always wondered if I start prescribing medicine without a license and qualifications I’m a quacksalver, but why is it that these so-called doctors can express their opinions about movement and true physical health when they know jack-all about it? Unless you have a doctor that’s an athlete, trainer or highly active exerciser, then they would be better of to stick to what they know, which is selling band-aids and treating symptoms but not the cause (off course I’m generalizing here, but I’m sure that if you’re on the other side, you’ll forgive me).
On that note, unfortunately, the Western laziness has infiltrated the Asian culture and the majority of younger middle or high-income generation is now hardly able to squat properly.
Working on your squat mobility is so time-consuming! … but it’s not really. Allow me to give you an idea of how I work on my squat mobility and maintain it apart from exercising. Yesterday I went to the cinema and watched a movie in a squatting position while in my seat, I know I might have looked funny, but I don’t care, what’s important to me is my freedom to move, my flexibility, not what others think. While watching TV (rarely) I come into different types of stretching positions, half squat, deep squat, cossack squat, bp stretch, butt on the floor and legs straight, on the knees and so on, I spend my time in different positions while watching TV. Try it, use your time wisely.
Here is a great way to work on your squat depth safely with assistance
If you’re not able to squat deep, you’re missing one of the fundamental movements in life and guaranteed to lose more mobility over the years if you don’t start working on that squat depth right now!
Why hire an expert? Yes, this part is to sell my services and promote those of other expert trainers, because there is still so much misunderstanding about personal trainers, all they’re good for is counting and I can do that myself. Yeah right! If you get a snot nose straight out of school with no experience or qualifications, yeah, you’re probably right, but if you pay more than peanuts, then you might get someone who can help you on your path to freedom of movement, pain-free movement. It’s not something that happens overnight and requires proper progression, the progression that is different for each person. So invest in yourself, rather than waste $100 on a Saturday night out, get yourself a professional and train twice a week, soak up the information, learn, plan, and grow.
I leave you with a few basic cues that I use to cue my athletes for the squat:
- Feet just outside hip width
- Keep your heels on the ground at all times
- Brace the core muscles
- Squeeze the buttocks
- Breathe in all the way down
- Knees forward
- Break at the hips
- Slowly relax the buttocks just enough to lower while maintaining proper pelvic alignment
- Keep torso upright
- Look ahead
- Keep knees in line with hips and feet
- Squeeze the glutes to protect the lower back
- Breathe out all the way up
- Press the heels into the ground to activate the hamstrings
- Full hip extension
Bringing the arms up into the air can help assist remaining upright.
Butt wink is not a huge problem to worry about with bodyweight squats, but with heavy weighted squats it is, to avoid this, squeeze more or stop just before the pelvis starts tilting excessively.
If you’re having trouble staying upright, don’t fret, work on strength and flexibility, a good way to do this is the Goblet Squat. Range, strength first, reps and weight last.
I hope you enjoyed my rant about squeezing the buttocks, don’t forget to check out Cavemantraining Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram for more cool and unconventional stuff related to fitness and health.
Want a Bigger Butt? Add These 11 Exercises to Your Home Workout
“Because we sit down for most of our days, we teach our glutes to relax while our hip flexors stay shortened,” Braun says. “This leads to what some call ‘gluteal amnesia,’which can also lead to compensations in the way we move, often making your low back do the glutes’ job.” As a result, we may experience back pain or run into other types of dysfunction.
Additionally, weak glutes may be what’s preventing you from improving your 5K time or getting through a game of pick-up basketball without rolling an ankle. “The glutes are the powerhouse for most of our lower- and full-body movements, from squats to jumping,” says Braun. “If you want to increase your strength, power, stability, and limit the likelihood for injury, it’s important to incorporate butt workouts into your programming.”
Want to look good in a pair of jeans and stay healthy and pain-free? Bum’s the word.
If you’re looking to build a bigger butt, try Xtend Barre on Openfit. This 30-minute cardio mix of Pilates and ballet barre is proven to sculpt lean, strong physiques. Click here to learn more!
11 Exercises to Make Your Butt Bigger
You can get stronger, shapelier glutes with a few pieces of basic equipment and a handful of carefully selected butt exercises you can do at home — no gym membership or machines required. We hand-picked some of the best exercises for glutes, including moves to tighten the buttocks and thighs as well as exercises to augment them.
Be sure to incorporate a warm-up routine that includes some dynamic stretching. Braun recommends leg swings, walking high knees, glute bridges, and bodyweight squats. “You want to stretch the glutes while also activating them through contraction to get them ready for exercise,” he explains.
1. Quadruped Hip Extension
- Loop a small resistance band above your knees and get on all fours in tabletop position. Adjust one end of the resistance band so that it’s pinched between the floor and your left knee.
- Keeping your right knee bent 90 degrees, flex your right foot, squeeze your glutes, and extend your right hip. Your neck should be neutral and the sole of your right foot should face the ceiling.
- Pause before lowering your right knee. Perform equal reps on each side.
- Stand in front of a bench or box around knee height. You have the option of holding dumbbells at your sides. Lift your left knee and place your left foot in the middle of the bench. This is the starting position.
- Keeping your chest up and shoulders back, drive through your left foot, squeeze your glutes, straighten your left knee, and come to a standing position with both feet atop the bench.
- Pause, and then slowly lower your body back to the starting position. Perform equal reps on each side.
- Loop a resistance band around your legs just above your knees, and lie on your left side with your hips, knees, and feet stacked. Rest your head on your left arm, and place your right palm on the floor in front of your chest.
- Bend at the hips, swinging your legs out to a 45 degree angle, then bend your knees to 90 degrees. This is your starting position.
- Keeping your core engaged and your heels together, raise your right knee as far as you can without rotating your hip or lifting your left knee off the floor.
- Hold for 1 second before returning to the starting position.
- Repeat the move, completing all reps on one side, then switch sides, performing equal reps on both.
4. Weighted Glute Bridge with Calf Raise
- Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells on your hips. This is the starting position.
- Lift your hips as high as possible, squeezing your glutes as you rise up on the balls of your feet.
- Reverse the movement to return to the starting position, and repeat for reps.
5. Bulgarian Split Squat
- Stand with your back to a box or bench, holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides.
- Extend your right leg behind you, and place your toes on top of the box.
- Keeping your chest up and core engaged, slowly lower your body until your left thigh is parallel with the floor.
- Pause, then push through your left foot to return to the starting position. Perform equal reps on both legs.
6. Romanian Deadlift
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms facing you. Bend your knees slightly.
- Keeping your back flat, shoulders back, and core engaged, push your hips back and hinge forward, lowering the dumbbells to mid-shin height. The weights should remain within an inch or two of your legs throughout the movement.
- Squeeze your glutes, bring your hips forward, and return to the starting position.
7. Wall Balls
- With your feet hip-width apart, stand 1-2 feet in front of a sturdy wall. With both hands, hold a medicine ball at chest height.
- Keeping your abs engaged, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body into a squat.
- Drive through your heels, extend your hips, and, as you straighten your legs, toss the ball up at the wall. Pick a target height that feels challenging but sustainable for multiple reps.
- As you catch the ball, lower into your next squat.
8. Lateral Band Walk
- Loop a small resistance band around your legs, just above your knees, and stand with your feet hip-width apart, creating slight tension on the band.
- Keeping your back flat and abs engaged, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body into a squat, shifting your weight toward your heels.
- Step right with your right foot, and immediately follow with the left, maintaining tension on the band so that your knees don’t cave inward.
- Continue sidestepping in a slow, shuffling motion. Take an equal number of steps in the opposite direction.
9. Dumbbell Thrusters
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells in front of your shoulders with your palms facing each other.
- Keeping your abs engaged, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body into a squat.
- Drive through your heels, extend your hips, and, as you straighten your legs, lift the dumbbells directly above your shoulders.
- Lower the dumbbells to shoulder height as you return to a squat.
10. Weighted Jump Squats
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointed forward, holding a dumbbell or sandbag in both hands in front of your chest.
- Keeping your back flat and chest up, bend your knees and push your hips back until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Explode upward, jumping as high as you can
- Land softly, immediately dropping back down into a squat to begin your next rep.
11. Fold Over
- With your feet hip-width apart, stand a few feet from a barre. Your knees should be slightly bent.
- Keeping your back flat and core engaged, hinge forward at your hips and grab hold of the barre. Your torso should be parallel to the floor.
- Keeping a slight bend in your left leg, lift your right leg behind you until you feel your glutes contract, while keeping both hip bones pointed toward the ground.
- Maintaining the contraction, pulse your right leg upward.
- Lower your right leg and repeat on the opposite side, performing equal reps on each.
Anatomy of the Butt
Your body’s gluteal region is comprised of three major muscles that work together to move the legs and hips, provide balance, and offer stability during single-leg movements like walking, running, and climbing stairs.
Among the trinity of butt muscles, the gluteus maximus gets all the glory. As its name indicates, the G-max is not only the biggest gluteal muscle, it’s also the largest muscle in the human body. And, due to its superficial (closest to the surface) placement, it’s responsible for providing the booty’s famously rounded shape.
The gluteus maximus originates from the hip bone, sacrum, and tailbone. It runs across the rear at a 45-degree angle and inserts into the I.T. band and femur (thigh bone). The muscle’s primary function is hip extension, meaning that your gluteus maximus is (literally) behind everyday movements like standing up from a seated position, as well as athletic feats like the 40-yard dash.
Originating from the ilium and inserting atop the front of the femur, the gluteus medius is the fan-shaped muscle responsible for abducting (lifting out to the side) the leg. The gluteus medius is also charged with medial and lateral rotation, turning the leg so the knee faces inward and outward. Without a sufficiently strong gluteus medius, you can develop an altered walking/running gait, which can lead to a number of movement related issues.
Despite its rank as the tiniest of all the butt muscles, the gluteus minimus plays a vital role in stabilizing the pelvis during walking and running. Originating from the ilium, the gluteus minimus attaches atop the femur. Like the gluteus medius, its main functions include lower limb abduction and medial rotation.
Eating for a Bigger Booty
If your goal is to get a bigger bum, doing the best butt workouts is just part of the equation. You also need to be strategic with your nutritional intake and supplementation. Healthy, fast-burning carbohydrates consumed before your butt workout will keep your energy consistent, from the first lunge down to the last jump squat. Just as important is your post-workout protein intake, which the body needs for muscle growth and repair.
One Dangerous Mistake You Could Be Making During Squats and Deadlifts
Photo: Westend61 / Getty Images
Weightlifting is getting crazy popular. And you don’t even have to be a powerlifter to get up close and personal with weight training. Women taking boot camp classes, doing CrossFit, and working out in regular gyms are more likely than ever to encounter kettlebells, barbells, and more. Even celebrities like Kate Upton and Brie Larson are raising the profile of weightlifting workouts. (BTW, here’s what really happens when women lift heavy weights.)
But when it comes to lifting heavy things, safety is super important. And there’s one crucial mistake trainers see frequently with weightlifting newbies that makes them cringe. The upside? Fixing it is easier than you might think. Here’s what you need to know.
What’s the problem?
Have you ever watched someone squat or deadlift and seen them thrust their hips forward at the end of the movement? Sometimes, it’s so far that they actually lean backward. Yeah, that’s not a good idea.
“Thrusting too far forward at the end of a deadlift or squat is a really common compensation,” says Nicole Ramos, D.P.T., a doctor of physical therapy and certified personal trainer. But why is it so bad? “What’s actually happening is hyperextension of the lumbar spine.” That’s the part of your spine that makes up your lower back. Hyperextending it means you’re pushing it out of its normal range of motion by forcing it to curve into a “c” shape that faces backward. You might typically think of hyperextension of the low back as when you stick out your butt (à la IG “booty popping” gym mirror pics). But it can also happen when you squeeze those cheeks so tight and press your hips so far forward that you’re almost leaning back at the top of an exercise.
“Usually it comes from attempting to drive your hips forward to complete the lift,” explains Ramos. Most people are taught to stand up completely and squeeze their glutes at the end of a squat or deadlift. But sometimes, this causes people to actually lean back. In other words, they can’t squeeze their butt without hyperextending their back. “Hyperextending the lumbar spine causes a significant shearing force to the lumbar spine and sacroiliac joints (which connect your spine to your pelvis),” adds Ramos. In other words, it puts *a lot* of pressure on your lower back to bend in a way it’s not supposed to-and it’s an area that’s pretty prone to injury to begin with. (Related: Is It Ever OK to Have Lower-Back Pain After a Workout?)
Experts agree that it’s not great to do this in a deadlift, but it’s *especially* dangerous to do it in a barbell squat. “An overly aggressive hip thrust at the top of the squat can(but does not always) cause the bar to ever so slightly fly up off the ‘shelf’ of your upper back,” explains Greg Pignataro, C.S.C.S., at Grindset Fitness. “When gravity pulls it back down that half inch, it adds extra compressive force to your spine, which can cause injury.” Ouch. While it’s certainly not guaranteed that you’ll hurt yourself if you lift this way, why risk it?!
How to Maintain Proper Posture While Lifting
So, how can you know if you’re making this mistake in the first place, and what can you do about it? Here’s what fitness pros recommend.
Ask for help. If you work out in a gym with trainers, ask one of them to check out your technique-or better yet, schedule a personal training session to ensure your form is really solid. “It’s always great to have a second pair of eyes when you’re doing heavy lifts,” says Ramos. If recruiting a trainer isn’t an option, you can still check yourself. “If you’re working independently, videoing yourself is the best way to analyze your performance and correct suboptimal movement patterns.”
Learn what locking out your glutes should feel like. “Oftentimes, movement compensations such as hyperextension of the lumbar spine are a motor control issue,” says Ramos. In other words, your body just isn’t used to moving that way yet. For a solid (and safe) glute lockout, Ramos’ go-to exercise is a hip thrust on a bench. Use a lighter resistance (or no resistance at all) and focus on achieving a posterior pelvic tilt as you move the pelvis into hip extension (the top of the rep), she recommends.That means your hips are tucked under, almost like you’re tucking your tailbone between your legs. “I also like cueing posterior pelvic tilts inside a plank,” she says. “It’s practically impossible to hyperextend your lumbar spine in a posterior pelvic tilt.” And that’s the key. If you’re in posterior pelvic tilt, your lower back will be flat, not curved, so you won’t be able to hyperextend your lower back. Once you can maintain a posterior pelvic tilt consistently in these exercises, go back to your squat or deadlift and see if you can integrate this new strategy by thinking about posterior pelvic tilt to achieve glute lockout and a neutral spine. (Related: Your Glutes Aren’t Weak, They’re Just Not Firing)
Practice squeezing your butt. Yes, really. If the posterior pelvic tilt strategy doesn’t work for you, try this. “Rather than ‘thrusting’ your hips forward and ‘tucking’ the tailbone, you should practice engaging your glutes through an isometric contraction,” says Timothy Lyman, a certified personal trainer and director of training programs at Fleet Feet Pittsburgh. “Think about ‘squeezing’ or ‘clenching’ your butt cheeks together, without allowing your hips to move forward. By isometrically contracting the glutes at the top of a squat or deadlift, you’ll actively target your glutes and engage your core while keeping the hips level and your spine in a safe, neutral position.”
Learn how to brace your core. If you keep your core steady and stiff during either lift, you won’t be able to thrust your hips forward. Here’s how to do it:
- At the start of each rep, you take a deep, diaphragmatic breath, filling up your belly.
- Then, while holding your breath, pull your navel toward your spine, tensing the abdominal muscles.
- Don’t exhale until you have completed the rep.
- Before starting your next rep, take another diaphragmatic breath.
“This is the best way to prevent injury when lifting heavy weights because it keeps you from collapsing forward and placing undue stress on your lower back,” says Pignataro. (Here are more tips on how to brace your core during your workouts.)
Keep it light. Until you’ve sorted your lifts out, there’s one rule to live by: “By all means, reduce the weight you’re using and work on form first!” says Gabrielle Fundaro, Ph.D., a nutrition and exercise consultant for Renaissance Periodization.
Bootys are the latest craze, but why are they so hard to grow? Firstly, to truly understand how to engage YOUR glutes, you need to know which booty you have. So let’s self-diagnose your rear.
The Flat Butt
If you stand in front of the mirror, side on and say “what butt”, then you have a flat butt. The lack of booty may be due to a downward tilted pelvis. Put simply, when you are active, the muscles engaging are coming from your lower back and hamstrings, not your butt. Therefore not growing your glute muscles.
You will need to learn how to engage your glutes. A little exercise for you is to the sit-&-squeeze. Whenever you are sitting down, in the car, in the office, at the dinner table, you need to squeeze your glutes on and off for around 10 seconds. Try double squeeze and then single squeeze.
Some booty exercises that will significantly help your flat butt are:
- Deep pulse squats
- Butt bridges
- Donkey kicks
- Opposite arm leg lift
The Droopy Butt
A droopy butt is one that hangs low and doesn’t have much of an upper shelf. It also usually has a crease under the cheeks. The reason for this is that you might have an upward tilted pelvis. This mean you have bad posture and stand with a very curved back. Your gluteus muscles are not being activated to give your butt any lift. You need to focus on resistance training and explosive movements otherwise gravity will pull that butt further down.
Some booty exercises that will significantly help your droopy butt are:
- Hamstring curls on swiss ball
- Box jumps
- Squat jumps
- Heavy squats
The Bubble Butt
You could call yourself lucky. Your butt has a peachy, perky appearance with a shelf and lift. However you might have too much junk in the trunk so maybe you want a more toned booty. You have the tools its just how you use them. You most likely need to reduce jiggle, drop fat and tighten up.
Some booty exercises that will significantly help you are:
- Single leg lying raises
- Step ups
- Heavy squats
Getting to know your glutes is key to activating them during exercise. Not engaging the glute muscle during exercise is a very common issue. It may be due to wearing shoes too often. So get bear-foot and learn to engage your glutes with these quick and easy, at home yoga poses. Remember to concentrate on squeezing your glutes.
This pose is great in activating the glute muscles and strengthening the quads and gluteal. After a few seconds you will notice that your quads will start to burn and this is a good sign.
- Start by standing normally and bring your feet together
- Bend at the knees, allowing your inner knees to touch
- Sit as low as possible
- At the same time extend your arms upwards, palms touching until your elbows are by your ears
- Keep your shoulders relaxed
- Aim to keep the weight in the back of your heels
- You should feel no pressure on the kneecaps just engaged glutes and quads
- Keep your back as straight as possible
Half Moon Pose
If you might find some discomfort in the hip joint during this pose that is due to you not engaging all muscles correctly. If you do it correctly though, and feel no discomfort then this pose will really help you learn to engage all three main glute muscles.
- Take the High Lunge position
- Step half way forward with your right foot and straighten your left leg
- Put the weight on your left foot and place your left hand on the ground and with your right hand reach for the roof
- Once stable, bring your right leg up to be parallel with the floor
- Then roll your right hip up and back so the hip faces the side wall
- Concentrate on holding the right leg with your glute muscles only
- Hold for 4 breaths seconds and then repeat on the other side
Downward Facing Dog Leg Lifts
This pose will be working your lower back, hamstrings and glutes. To be able to do this pose you will be forced to engage your backside.
- Start in Downward Facing Dog, hands down, booty up, legs straight and push into the ground with your shoulders.
- Lift one leg back and up behind you keeping your toes pointed towards the ground and your hips level
- Hold for 4 breaths squeezing the glutes and then release
- Repeat on the other side
Once you have learnt how to engage your glutes you should take this knowledge and apply it to all the exercises you do.
Like this? You should share it! Claire Trojkovic
Claire Trojkovic is a health and fitness expert from Australia. She is also an international fitness model competitor who has won many champisonships in Australia as well as overseas. The most prestigous being the INBA World Championships in 2013 which was held in Greece.
Recently, a friend’s post sur les médias sociaux began an important conversation about quality coaching and quality movement. It started with an open letter, of sorts, from an aerial instructor to the aerial students of the world: if you’re performing skills or movements inefficiently, using the wrong muscles, then you can expect the result to be an inefficient movement/skill that may or may not look nice. Laura Witwer’s follow-up blog post adds that what you might really be doing is grooving that inefficient, probably not-so-nice looking, movement/skill into something more or less permanent. What follows is my contribution to the larger discussion.
First, I would like to say to Liza Rose from Fly Circus Space in New Orleans and to Laura Witwer: yes, yes, yes. A thousand times, yes! So well said. Thank you!
Fixing/undoing the permanent inefficient skill can be a rather long and annoying road. Especially when/if that inefficient skill/movement ends up becoming the cause of an overuse injury.
So the take-home point here is that you need to have a good coach there watching and coaching you to make sure that your form is solid and that you’re moving well.
You need someone there to remind you: “Squeeze your butt!”
But what if you can’t squeeze your butt?
What if, like sooo many circus artists, your glutes are, let’s say, under-active. (And, let’s get straight to it: under-strong).
We could call them sleepy glutes. Stuart McGill calls it “gluteal amnesia”. We could call it an acute case of weakness.
One way this breaks down could be like this: at some point in the relatively recent past, let’s say within the last ten years, you found yourself at a circus arts class. In one way or another, you fell in love with it. You took classes and classes and classes and here you are: you’re a circus artist-athlete.
Outside of circus, you need a job to pay for your circus habit. And at your job, you work at a desk. Outside of your job, when you’re not training, you might have a couch. Either way, sitting happens. And things happen to your body when you stay in one position for extended periods of time, over the course of days and weeks and months and years.
Unless you do some work to balance those effects out.
Put a pin in that idea, we’re going to come back to it.
So, while not everybody spends most of their days sitting at a desk, life does tend to involve a lot of sitting elsewhere. (And for the purposes of this post, let’s agree that many of us spend a fair bit of time sitting). I have gone on at length before about the potential impacts that sitting can have on your body, so here I’ll do a quick review:
Sitting—like any other thing we do regularly—is a form of training your body.
In the seated position, your hip flexors are shortened. Our bodies, with their wonderful capacity for adaptation, do their best to keep our hip flexors shortened.
Your hip flexors anchor to the vertebrae of your lumbar spine and your diaphragm (psoas), the inside of your pelvis (iliacus) and the front of your pelvis (rectus femoris, TFL, satorius) and in their shortened state, they exert a bit of a downward pull on your pelvis, encouraging it to tilt anteriorly. Interestingly, this creates a bit of pull on your abdominal musculature. Combined with the way that sitting tends not to require much from your abdominal muscles, they can become “down-regulated” (kind of like switching to low-power mode).
This pelvic tilt also contributes to shortening and tightening the erectors of your low back…which reinforces that pelvic tilt in a fun chicken-and-egg kind of way.
And again, all of this combined with the way that sitting doesn’t ask much of your glutes means they also become “down-regulated”.
Nap time for your butt muscles.
Enter the Circus
So, your glutes are on vacation. And then you take up silks or trapeze or lyra or handbalancing or (insert active circus discipline here) and you start “training” to make your split bigger. In all of these, you find you need to move around in ways that, ideally, your glutes would facilitate.
To be explicitly clear, your glutes should be the primary drivers of hip extension pretty much any time hip extension happens.
Not only that, because of the way that your glute max goes from the midline of your pelvis (ilium) and anchor into the upper part of your thigh bone (femur), strong glutes help to keep the ball in the socket, so to speak. Your glutes add stability to your hip joint.
Copyright: fizkes / 123RF Stock Photo Copyright: asphoto777 / 123RF Stock Photo Copyright: fizkes / 123RF Stock Photo
But what tends to happen is that people use their hamstrings to do the work:
Trying to do some “active flex” stuff to improve your split? Push down with those hamstrings!
Need to scissor your legs as you work on that hip-key? Hamstrings!
Working hard to arch up and lift your legs back in that croc? Hamstrings!
One thing that all of the above have in common is that your glutes should be doing more of the work than your hamstrings.
And, to be perfectly clear: this means your hamstrings end up working harder than they need to, which can definitely result in some freaking strong hamstrings, but it will also alter your hip joint mechanics and tends to result in hamstring strains and tendinopathies and such.
And…we haven’t even begun to touch on how, in the absence of full, active hip extension (which is what glutes are for!), the most common and insidious compensation happens through the lumbar spine! This is why core strength is so important: your lumbar spine doesn’t do well with loaded extension.
Now, admittedly, “loaded” is a tricky word to use here. The most obvious interpretation suggests that you might be extending through your low back with a weight in your hands or on your back. But the spine gets “loaded” in other ways:
Copyright: wisky / 123RF Stock Photo
(Notice his hips are not fully extended here. That means a good chunk of the “load” he’s carrying gets channeled into his low back.)
Without good alignment (here, we’re talking about hip extension to ‘neutral’ or ‘straight’), support from strong glutes and core, the forces get transmitted right into your low back. Over time, there’s a pretty good chance this could lead to disk degeneration. Reports suggest that is no fun at all.
That idea I said we’d come back to: It’s time to get those glutes working!
First we “activate” them…
(I’ve put activate in quotes because a muscle is never truly asleep. Down-regulated and not doing much, yes…but still alive, receiving neural input and capable of output. It’s just that the ‘output’ isn’t much of anything.)
…and then we acknowledge that “activating” them isn’t enough.
You’ve got to strengthen them.
We can get your glutes awake and feeling alive…but if your hamstrings are still stronger, we still have the potential for the same problems.
Add these to your warm-up/movement prep routine:
(if you’ve got a mini-band handy, I love these)
Banded Walks (or Banded Side-Steps to be more accurate)
Keys: this is intended to get your Glute Medius all fired up and ready to go…but it’s really easy for your hip flexors to try to ‘help out’ by doing most of the work, so form counts!
- Feet parallel (or even slightly turned in)
- Hips extended—turning the feet inward makes many folks flex at the hip (those pesky hip flexors again!), so think of your hips having headlights that need to be level and point forward.
- Keep tension in the band the whole time: step with one foot and then slowly move the trailing foot.
- No rocking side to side: I often tell people to pretend like they are videoing something important…we can’t have the shot tilting up and down with each step. That makes for poor videography.
- Do at least one set of 10 steps in both directions.
If you don’t have mini-bands…why don’t you have mini-band? They’re sooo great!
Side-lying Leg Lifts
- Again, form counts because it’s really easy for your hip flexors to jump in and do the work here.
- Lie on your side: hips stacked vertically (like really vertically, not just the ‘I think they’re vertical’ kind of vertical), shoulders stacked, head supported like you’re sleeping on your side
- Think Triple Extension: hip extends back, knee extends straight, ankle extends down (point your toes)
- Exhale and raise your leg as high as you can without letting it come forward (flexing at the hip)
- Do 5 repetitions on each side with a 5-second exhale on each.
Lumbar-locked Hip Lift (Also known as the Leg-lock Hip Lift or the Cook Hip Lift)
- Pull your current favorite knee in to your chest.
- The other foot is as close to your butt as you can do easily with your toes up in the air (so just your heel is pressing into the floor)
- Exhale, lift your hips and torso as a single unit and hold.
- Do 5 repetitions on each side with a 5-second exhale on each.
And then, it’s time to make those glutes stronger!
…except that “making your glutes stronger” is an ongoing process. Maybe what I should have said is “it’s time to start a weight-lifting habit!” because, let’s be clear: bodyweight exercises are not going to make you super strong.
Why is that? Because, sure, in the beginning, when your glutes are weak, bodyweight exercises will feel challenging. And you will get stronger. But remember the principle of progressive resistance that is fundamentally key to getting stronger: unless you are steadily increasing your bodyweight (and thus, the resistance that your glutes have to overcome to do any given exercise), bodyweight exercises will not make you stronger.
(Phew. That feels good to get out.)
My glute (and other great posterior-chain muscle)-strength favorites of mine include:
- A staple in any program. (Follow the link for an introduction to deadlift technique). I like it as an introduction to the weighted hip-hinge that will lead us nicely into:
Single-leg “Straight-leg” Deadlift
The “straight-leg” part of the name is somewhat misleading. As much as it probably seems more circus-specific to do it with a straight leg, the slight knee-bend improves glute activation, and since that’s what we’re going for, bend your knee a little. It’s not cheating.
In terms of learning the movement, I suggest starting here:
And then, try this:
When you’re ready to load it, hold the weight in the hand opposite to your stance leg. Focus on keeping the back leg back by squeezing that glute like it’s your job.
Often, people get focused on tipping forward and this results in dropping the chest and rounding through the upper back. Not good. Options here include:
- focusing on lifting the back leg rather than tipping forward; the hip hinge will happen as a result; or
- focusing on lowering the weight toward the outside of your stance foot while keeping your chest up at the same time.
Of course, your strength-training plan wants to be as balanced as possible, but at least one deadlift variation should really be in there.
And then, voila! Four to six weeks later, when your coach says to squeeze your butt…BAM! You’ll be ready.
WHEN AND WHY YOU SHOULD SQUEEZE YOUR BUTT (DURING EXERCISE)
Stan DuttonFollow Apr 17, 2017 · 3 min read
Butt squeezing isn’t just for a steamy night on the dance floor or trying to show your friend what bodypart that doughnut is going to enlarge.
It’s also something that nearly every strength coach, trainer, and fitness instructor yells out at least two dozen times per day.
But why is it? Do we all just enjoy talking about butts?
Well, yes. But also, squeezing your butt during exercise actually has a very big impact on posture, strength, and reducing chances of injury.
WHY YOU SHOULD SQUEEZE YOUR BUTT
Many people spend a very, very large amount of their time sitting down. This causes some muscles to become tight or overactive and others to become weak and under active.
But here’s the thing — it isn’t just about stretching a tight muscle or strengthening a weak muscle.
NONE of that stuff works if you are not in the proper POSITION. This is why:
– Your back hurts while doing planks
– You can lean forward very far without feeling a stretch in your hip flexors (even though they still feel tight)
– Bending over and picking things up bothers your back
So, long story short, squeezing your but is less of an activation cue, and more of a position cue.
WHERE TO PUT YOUR BUTT
If you’re a sitter, there is a very good chance that your pelvis is tilted forward, into a position that us meatheads call ‘anterior pelvic tilt’
It also might just be that you’re sticking your butt out to show the world what ya momma gave ya. Although this is great for instagram, it’s pretty terrible for your spine. (And we know you’re lying)
So what the heck is going on here?
Long story short, your body is always interacting and adapting to its environment. This means if you spend the majority of your time sitting, your body will get really, really good at sitting. The problem with this, is we aren’t spending all of our time sitting — we stand, run, jump, skip, and hump.
These things are done best when your pelvis is in a more neutral position.
And your butt holds the key.
A BUTT-STUFF FAVOR
When we tell you to squeeze your cheeks, what we’re actually doing is encouraging your hips to move into into a healthier position. But, sometimes clenching them isn’t enough or the right cue.
Try to find the butt-tightness by ALSO slightly tucking your hips underneath you.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
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