Weekend Challenge: Agility Enhancer
Today’s exercise targets the buttocks muscles, or glutes, which are often overlooked, despite their pivotal role in gait, coordination, and even relieving and preventing lower back pain.
In fact, the glutes are the key to the distinctive human ability to walk upright. Weak glutes not only compromise your agility, but they can also contribute to a destabilized sacrum and sacroiliac joint, which is a major cause of lower back pain.
So strengthening the glutes makes a whole lot of sense, and the Agility Enhancer does just that. Let’s get started!
Your entire lower body is influenced by your glutes. When you walk, run, or do anything involving motion of your lower body, your glutes come into play. They stabilize your pelvis and propel you forward, helping you with balance and agility.
Weak glutes cause other muscles to kick in and compromise in an attempt to do the glutes’ job. This throws your body out of alignment, unevenly distributing weight and causing muscle tightness and tension. Weak glutes cause these over-worked muscles to be more vulnerable to injury as well.
Doing the glutes’ many jobs is no easy task for any muscle. The muscles in the buttocks are the largest and heaviest muscles in the body, but their power often goes untapped as the glutes are used more as “seat cushions” than the powerful muscles they are.
The glutes’ power lies in their role in hip extension. Speed, acceleration, jumping, running, pushing backwards, and other fundamental movements all depend on hip extension, propelled by strong glutes. These twin muscles make the agile movements of runners and dancers possible.
The Glute And Back Connection
Many people do not realize the connection that exists between the buttocks and the back. They support each other, with the glutes doing the lion’s share of supporting. In the event that the glutes are weak, the deep psoas muscle, which runs from your spine to your legs, must activate in an attempt to stabilize the lower back.
The psoas is not meant to take on this monumental task, so it becomes tight, compressing the lumbar vertebrae and raising the risk of compression fractures. In this state, the lumbar vertebrae can lose density because motion no longer triggers their full movement. And of course, a tight psoas muscle is more prone to injury and can cause significant back pain.
When the glutes are strong and supple, the psoas can stop compromising and go back to doing its supportive role in the spine and pelvis, allowing the glutes to build bone density in your lumbar and sacral vertebrae.
We’re going to look more closely at the connection between the glutes and the lower back – specifically, the sacrum – in a moment. But first, let’s look at how to do the Agility Enhancer.
If you don’t have a carpeted floor, it’s a good idea to use an exercise mat for this move.
- Lie on your stomach and fold your hands in front of you on the floor. Place your forehead lightly on your hands, or turn your head to the side. Let your legs stretch out straight behind you.
- Bend one knee at an approximate 90-degree angle, keeping your toes pointed.
- With the knee bent, squeeze your glute and raise your knee off the ground a few inches, then lower it back down.
- Repeat with the other leg.
- As long as you are comfortable, aim for eight reps on each side for a total of 16 lifts.
To round out your workout, try following up this exercise with another Weekend Challenge, the Hip, Glutes, And Femur Strengthener. This will give you yet another angle from which to tackle low bone density in your pelvis and lower back, particularly the sacroiliac joint.
Strong Glutes Are Essential For The Integrity Of The Sacroiliac Joint
You may be unfamiliar with the sacroiliac joint of the pelvis. It’s the place where the sacral vertebrae join the pelvic bones, and strong glutes hold this joint in alignment and allow it to move effectively.
In a 2014 study, researchers looked at how using the glutes affects the sacroiliac (SI) joint. Dissecting 11 embalmed limbs, scientists were able to determine that the glutes:
“… generate compressive forces at the SIJ through its bony and fibrous attachments. These may assist effective load transfer between lower limbs and trunk.”1
What this means is that the glutes produce compressive force on the SI joint, thus transferring load between your torso and legs and building bone in this key area of the skeleton. Effective distribution of load is crucial for building bone density as per Wolff’s Law.
So you can see how and why strong glutes are so vital for balance, agility, and motion. Of course, they are also crucial for building bone density in the hips and lower spine.
The Densercise™ Epidensity Training System acknowledges how important the glutes are in maintaining and reversing bone density. Many of its 52 moves involve these important muscles, such as the Dance Hop (page 39), Rear Leg Lift (page 40), and Side Lunge (page 16).
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
With Densercise™, you can build density in all crucial areas of your body.
Have a great weekend!
1 Barker, P.J., et al. “Anatomy and biomechanics of gluteus maximus and the thoracolumbar fascia at the sacroiliac joint.” March 2014. Clin Anat. 27 (2): 234-40. DOI: 10.1002/ca.22233. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23959791