The Glutes are the strongest and most powerful muscle in the human body. To neglect directly training your Glutes is doing yourself a major disservice. The Glutes are composed of four muscles, the Gluteus maximums which is the largest muscle of the glutes. The gluteus Medius which is located at the top of your hip, the gluteus minimums whish is a smaller stabilizer muscle, and lastly the tensor fasciae latae which is on the side of your hip. All four of these muscles are integral for hip alignment, pelvic floor stability, and even work to protect the lower back.
Lower Back Pain
When the glutes are weak, they become tight, remember, a tight muscle is a weak muscle. When the glutes become tight, it can cause your lower back to feel “locked up”. The problem that most people run into here is they feel the need to stretch, although it might feel good, it is not what they need. Rather, they need to strength their glutes, so when they are walking, bending over, and completing simple day to day tasks, their glutes are doing the work, not the lower back.
Just because your knees hurt, it does not mean your knees are the problem. When there is knee pain there is almost always a problem either up stream or down stream. Meaning, the ankles are likely not mobile, causing your body to place more tension on your knees. Upstream, weak glutes, as we know, are tight glutes and can cause many issues for the knees. The first being that the tight glutes are causing a lack of hip mobility, which places a greater amount of stress on your knees. In addition to the glutes being weak and protentional “imbalanced”, most people are quadricep dominate. Meaning they heavily rely on their quads when moving. This imbalance places a lot of stress on the knees. A strong and balanced set of glutes can fix this by literally taking the load off the quad and placing it on the strong and capable muscles of the glutes.
Whether you are an athlete or not, moving better and feeling better should be a priority for you. Which is why training those glutes is so important. Most people simply do not train their glutes, leaving a lot of performance on the table. By effectively training your glutes you are going to see a substantial increase in your lower body strength. This can simply be done by doing some focused glute activation prior to training, like lateral band walks, paused hip thrusts, and single leg bridges. These methods will allow you to “feel” your glutes being used, so when you begin squatting you will have already primed your glutes. This will make your squats feel a lot stronger and more stable.
Take it from me, as someone who used to suffer from knee pain, lower back pain, and hip tightness. To someone who can deadlift 545lbs pain-free, compete in martial arts, and rarely experiences pain. Training your glutes is going to keep you out of pain and keep you progressing.