Hip Exercises: There is More to the Butt than Meets the Eye
Let’s start off by being honest. No matter who you are, everyone wants a nice butt.
If you don’t agree, then the rest of this blog is probably right for you.
Butt…. For the rest of us, we appreciate a nice back-side when we see it, and desire to have a nice butt of our own. However, there is more to the glutes than meets the eye so let’s talk about it.
The glutes play much more of a role than filling out a pair of jeans or yoga pants.
The glutes, among other muscles, play a critical role in protecting our hips, knees, and lower back. The glutes are the biggest muscles in the body, so you better believe they have a major responsibility.
Before we jump into the world’s greatest exercises for the butt (in my personal and professional opinion), let’s first discuss some of the common injuries that surround the hips.
Maybe one of these ailments rings a bell and is the reason you are here today.
Let us start with a self-test. Stand up and place your palms on the outside of your hips. Now, run your palms down the outside of your hips toward the outside of your leg and over your IT Band.
Did you notice a bump, or a bony protuberance, where your hip meets your leg?
That is called the greater trochanter and it is part of your femur. Pain here happens when the bursa, which is a fluid-filled sac that helps reduce friction, becomes inflamed.
Now, while there can be numerable mechanisms of injury that lead to an irritated bursa— some of the most common contributors that we see here in the clinic are tight anterior hips; particularly an overactive Tensor Fascia Lattae, or what is known in the business, the TFL.
So, how can I show my TFL some TLC?
I am going to show you the best way to foam roll and stretch to encourage the TFL to relax and hopefully help decompress the greater trochanteric bursa. Furthermore, I would definitely recommend stretching out the front of your hips and foam rolling your quads while you are at it.
Here are my four favorite moves.
If you are in the sports medicine industry, you probably know that this is the “controversial syndrome of the month” on social media. I’m going to give you the 100 words or synopsis of what is being debated.
Let’s call these people Bob and Sean.
Bob: I don’t think Piriformis Syndrome Exists, so let change the name!
Sean: What do you mean it doesn’t exist? Don’t people have pain driven by the Piriformis?
Bob: Yes, but not everyone, so we shouldn’t label a specific diagnosis if there are other muscles that might be contributing to pain. Let’s just call it deep gluteal pain syndrome to be safe.
Sean: So, we want to diagnose the patient with something they already knew. They already know they have deep gluteal pain. Is keeping it vague going to help them feel confident about their outcome? Would you treat the patient any differently than Piriformis Syndrome?
Bob: No, I would treat it the same.
Sean: It sounds like your goal here is to sound smart over serving patients.
Bob: By the way, it was originally spelled with a Y instead of I. So there.
No matter what it is called today, tomorrow a year from now, how we approach and treat Piriformis Syndrome will remain largely the same.
And just like any other injury or condition, there’s no ubiquitous cause of pain. That said, there generally is a common theme.
So, if you suspect you have Piriformis Syndrome, here are three general rehab drills we recommend to help calm down the Piriformis, return irritation to the sciatic nerve and increase strength in the lateral hip musculature.
And finally, here are the 8 best exercises we recommend for strengthening your glutes and supporting your hips.