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Fitness for Body, Mind and Spirit

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Fitness for the body, mind & spirit

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Thoughtful Thursday…Find out if you have weak glutes and what to do about it...

Welcome to Thoughtful Thursday. This GreenNote Fitness newsletter mindfully gathers and distills useful information that is supportive to our journey. It is my mission to educate, inspire, and propel you into action that moves you towards your goals and life of purpose. Take control of your journey today.

There is one movement that is phenomenal for the glutes and hamstrings but which many people struggle with how to perform properly. Today we are going to tackle this very issue so you can have strong, functional glutes, hamstrings, and core. Prepare as we learn about the hip hinge movement. Firstly, let’s take a look at why the glutes may be weak. Some signs of weak glutes

  • Knee pain - A large amount of chronic or acute pain in the knee and discomfort could point to your glutes and hamstrings not functioning properly. It’s important to keep a balance of strength between the front and back portions of the thigh and knee. This will help ensure joint health and proper movement mechanics

  • Improper movement - Watch what happens when you squat, hinge, or lunge. Do the knees shift forward? Do the knees collapse inward? If so, it’s possible that the glutes aren’t activating making them weak and dysfunctional

  • Lack of soreness - You may have thought that would be a good thing, however, when you train your legs with deadlifts, squats, hinge variations (like the single leg RDL), and lunges, the glutes should get just as sore as the rest of your body

  • Weak ankles and feet - Now take a look at your feet an ankles. Do your feet roll inward? Are your feet and ankles weak in general? This is a courteous warning sign that your glutes aren’t activating and they are weak. This is important because a lack of balance and stability correlates strongly with poor glute and hip function. During a squat if the knees collapse inward, this is also an indication of weak glutes, specifically gluteus medius and minimus

  • Tight hip flexors - This is a common complaint among people (especially desk jockeys). If your hip flexors are constantly tight, there is a good chance the glutes and hamstrings are weak and inactive. Muscular balance between the front and back area of the hip is critical not only for posture but also with performance, joint health, and physique appearance

Strengthen the posterior chain with the hip hinge movement As the name implies, the hip hinges. The one exercise that we will focus on for this movement is the single leg RDL (Romanian Deadlift). It is totally worth your time and effort to perfect this move. You can see it being performed here.

This is a great exercise because:

  • It really challenges the strength of the foot and ankle. As we learned above, that translates to balance and stability and glute and hip function. The single leg RDL not only helps strengthen the glute and hip but also it challenges balance and stability. As you get stronger with this exercise, consider performing it without any shoes. Shoes take away our need to use foot and ankle strength. This will be challenging for some but perfect this move and feel and look stronger

  • This exercise really hits not only the gluteus maximus but also the smaller butt muscles. Maybe the single most important factor when it comes to glute function is that the stretched or hinge position ensures the glutes and hamstrings are capable of lengthening through a full range of motion

  • This exercise also activates the core including the rectus abdominas in the abs, the external and internal obliques, and the erector spinae of the back. In fact, multi-joint exercises, such as the deadlift, are more effective for ab development, than ab isolation exercises i.e. crunches

  • Simply put, it is a superior exercise for strengthening the lower back and entire posterior chain, developing a tight core, and strengthening the posterior chain to protect against back pain

Tips for performing the single leg RDL

  • Begin by standing feet shoulder width apart, good posture, shoulders back and relaxed, eyes looking forward

  • Shift your weight to one leg, this is your support leg, slightly bend the knee of your support leg so it is not locked. This allows for the glute and hamstring muscles to be targeted maximally

  • With back flat and abs tight, slowly hinge forward at the hips while the back leg is bent at a 90 degree angle

  • Pause for two seconds at the top, slowly lower, until your trunk is almost parallel to the floor keeping control through the movement

Observe if you notice any of the signs of weak glutes. Then get to work on perfecting the single leg RDL. Begin with bodyweight only, then progress to performing the exercise barefoot. Once you’ve mastered that, then add additional weight. Consider performing this bodyweight exercise daily to improve, stability and balance, and strength in the hamstring, core, and glutes. You will be on your way! Enjoy your journey, Lisa Schaffer GreenNote Fitness You wouldn’t happen to know just one person that would benefit from this information? Please forward it to them! Did you miss last week’s newsletter on A beneficial exercise for both cardio and meditation……? {insert link #1} P.S. Check out my Facebook page for inspiration. P.P.S. Discover GreenNote Fitness recommendations for books, podcasts, and more on body, mind, and spirit.

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