Strong muscles in your bum don’t just give you a great looking behind, they can help prevent knee and back pain along with counteracting long periods of time spent sitting on your sofa, at your desk or in your car.
What happens when you sit on your bum
When we sit down the muscles in our bottom aren’t doing any work so they start to decline (or atrophy, to use the medical term). It has been reported that the muscles in our buttocks (aka the glutes) lose significant strength and mass when they aren’t used. Worryingly this negative impact can happen within just a number of weeks.
Our biggest and potentially most important muscle
Jonathan Folland, a professor at Loughborough University, told The Times that there are evolutionary reasons why the gluteus maximus has developed into, not only the biggest muscle in the bum, but also the biggest muscle in our body. ‘Our ancestors needed to be able to run fast for their own survival, and fast running depends on the ability to power from the hips to drive our legs forward.’
We might not need to run from a grizzly bear for our survival these days but our glutes still play an important part in balance, movement and posture. They help keep our pelvis stabilised and can also improve knee problems because they assist with knee alignment. Back pain can also be kept under control when the glutes are well developed.
Glutes and sports performance
If you’re someone who plays sport then showing your glutes some love is worth considering. In a recent study by Folland published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise it was indicated that those people with a larger and stronger gluteus maximus were able to run faster than those with a smaller and weaker one.
How to tone up your glutes
Here are three ways you can get those glutes working:
- Fire up your glutes by taking the stairs whenever you can. This upward movement is a great way to strengthen the bum.
- If you’re a fan of running or walking then incorporate some hills into your route, varying the incline whenever you can.
- Try some Pilates exercises that focus on strengthening the bottom. I’ve created a 10-minute workout that you can do at home and it’s ideal for beginners.