Due to our society and cultural habits, the typical American’s posture has suffered dramatically. One of the biggest reasons for this phenomenon can be traced back to our butts. That may seem strange, but your glutes are vital for posture. The reason is because your glutes are extensor muscles; they extend your spine and basically pull you up into a straight upright postural position. If your glutes don’t get the attention they need in the gym they will fail to do their job properly. With this lack of postural extension your body will want to start leaning forward at the hip because now your flexors (i.e. Hip Flexors and Rectus Abdominis) are now stronger than your glutes, which are one of your most important extensor muscles.
Low Back Pain and Sciatica
When this happens your body tries to compensate for your weak glutes and assigns the job of main extensor to other muscles. Some of the muscles that take this load are located in your lower back area and due to this muscle imbalance low back pain can be a consequence. Other complications may arise as well. As I mentioned before, other muscles are called up to bat in order to take the load that the weak glutes cannot handle at the moment, and one of those muscles is called the piriformis. This muscle runs right on top of the sciatic nerve. And when this muscle get over worked, due to having to compensate for the weak glute it puts pressure on that sciatic nerve and can lead to a condition called sciatica, which leaves the patient with severe pain running down from the glute to the back of the leg.
Lower Crossed Syndrome (LCS)
If low back pain and sciatica are not reasons enough to do some lunges then let’s talk about lower crossed syndrome (LCS). LCS is easier to understand once we establish the definition of antagonist muscles. These muscles are pairs that work together. When one muscle in the antagonist pair flexes, the other relaxes. Think of your biceps and triceps. So, we can replace the biceps with a muscle that runs down the front of your groin down to your upper inner leg called the psoas, and we can replace the triceps with your glutes. If your glutes are weak and relaxed the psoas will be contracted and activated bending you at the hip. And if your abs are also weak, its antagonist muscles in the lower/mid back region are going to be over activated pulling you back up from a slightly higher zone. This will leave you with an exaggerated concaved curve in your low back and you will look like this:
Though we recommend that you work out your entire body without neglecting any muscle group, we hold the glutes to high esteem. In a work out, for every 10 reps you do of a flexor exercise (i.e. crunches) you should do 13 reps of an extensor exercise (i.e. lunges). Thankfully, with chiropractic adjustments and therapy LCS, sciatica and low back pain can easily be treated and reversed. Call us for a free consultation at South Lake Wellness and Injury Center to learn more about the importance of your glutes and how to strengthen them properly.