My weekly work with clients reminds me how much valuable information there is to share with others to help them improve their daily lives. With summer here, my thoughts are not quite reaching paper as my calendar fills up with events with family and friends. There are a few hot topics that EVERYBODY, young and old, beginner or veteran, can relate to and those are the ones I hope to share in the next few months.
Last month my FB and Instagram posts urged everyone to do squats. Squats are the most basic, easy to do, functional exercise to maintain or perhaps recover lost function in our gluteus maximus or “glute max”. “No saggy butts allowed”, as my FB post stated. Saggy often means weak or “checked out” so when your brain sends the signal to your butt to help you stand up out of a chair, walk or climb stairs, nothing happens. If your glute max doesn’t do its job, then your back and thighs take over. Having toned thighs sounds nice but not so much that your knee gets overburdened. And overusing your back leads to wear and tear on the joints of the spine and possible back strain. So are squats the solution for everyone? They are an easy exercise to do, no equipment needed, and can be performed daily but if you have chronic knee or back pain first talk to your doctor or ask for a free injury screen at your local physical therapy clinic. Many clinics offer a free injury screen that does not require a prescription from a doctor. Another obstacle may be an unhappy glute max that is either tight or spastic (I refer to this as “pissed off”). A spastic or hypertonic muscle is already contracted and sitting there unable to activate when the call comes in from the brain to contract. You need to calm a spastic muscle down first with myofascial work targeting your hips and glute muscles (see Nov. 2016 blog). This includes massage therapy and self-myofascial massage.
Look for more glute max strengthening exercise posts on my FB page and Instagram for those of you who are concerned about your readiness to do squats or are looking for additional glute max strengthening exercises.
Picture courtesy Human Kinetics