Wake Up Your Glutes!

by June Kahn on Feb 20, 2015


The importance of gluteals for core stability and lower-back health.

It’s a sad fact of modern life that the gluteus maximus, the largest muscle in the body, often becomes inhibited and “turns off.” Ironically, this inhibition can be the culprit behind some cases of back and knee pain.

Instructors usually teach core stability exercises that focus on the abdominal region, including the transversus abdominis, obliques and paraspinal muscles. This is all well and good; however, what about lower-back pain tied to “sleeping” gluteal muscles? There is no question the trunk muscles are important, but the gluteals are equally important for core stability and lower-back health.

The following Pilates-inspired progressions will transition your clients from the floor to standing with full-body exercises that mirror daily activities and athletic movements, while emphasizing core and pelvic stability. Using a light Theraband® works the body in three planes of motion. The end result: proper muscle activation and timing, improved upper-body postural stabilization and better energy transfer.

Active Bridge

Active Bridge Lie supine, feet flat on floor, knees bent, heels fairly close to buttocks. Wrap ends of band around each hand, arms shoulder-width apart above chest. Apply gentle pressure to band, and lift torso from tailbone to shoulders, moving into full hip extension. Pull arms down to sides, band stretched across pelvis. Roll torso back down to mat, and return arms to start. Repeat 5×–8×.

Hip and Torso Twist

Hip and Torso Twist Lie supine, legs in tabletop position. Wrap band around each hand, arms shoulder-width apart above chest. Apply gentle pressure to band, inhale, and move both arms and legs laterally in opposition to one another, rotating torso. As you exhale, return to center, and then switch sides. Repeat 5×–8×.

The Clam

The Clam Lie on side, legs bent at a 45-degree angle forward, hips stacked. Lift ribs off floor to create “half-moon” under torso. Tie shorter band above knees, or wrap longer band around outside of thigh above knee. Keeping heels pinned together, raise and rotate knee up toward ceiling while hips remain stacked. Return to start position, and repeat 5×–10×. Switch sides.

Standing Abduction

Standing Abduction Stand with torso erect, band under both feet (short end under support leg; long end in hand opposite the moving leg). Abduct band to shoulder height while balancing on support leg and abducting opposite leg. Keep hips forward.Return to start position. Repeat 8x-10x, each leg.

Squat With Abduction

Squat With Abduction Wrap band around outside of thighs, above knees. Begin in squat position, torso erect, spine neutral, feet hip width apart. Keeping hips square to front, step one leg laterally into wider squat, creating tension on band. Return to start, and repeat 8x-10x. Switch sides.

Rotating Lunge

Rotating Lunge Stand with torso erect, legs hip-width apart. Wrap band around each hand, arms shoulder-width apart at chest height. Lunge back with one leg while rotating torso in direction of stabilizing leg. Maintain gentle pressure on band, and follow movement with eyes. Return to start position and switch sides. Repeat 10x-12x, each leg.

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About the Author

June Kahn

June Kahn IDEA Author/Presenter

June Kahn is an internationally recognized fitness leader and educator. She is the 2009 World IDEA Instructor of the Year, founder of June Kahn's Bodyworks, LLC™, and former Life Power Pilates Coordinator for Lifetime Fitness. June is currently a Pilates Rehab Practitioner with Masso Medical & Bodywork and is and special consultant to Curves International. As a program developer for many leading fitness organizations, June is also a continuing education provider for the fitness and mind/body industries, June is best known for bridging the gap between traditional Pilates and the fitness industry. A Certified Pilates practitioner through the Physical Mind Institute, June furthered her education as a Rehab Specialist applying that to both Mat, Reformer and Apparatus work. A Master Trainer with Savvier™ Fitness to both A Barre Above™ & Tabata Boot Camp™ Programs allows her to reach the consumer and inspire them to incorporate more movement into their lives. She is the creator of many programs including Curves Dance & Tone Caffeinated Pilates, Body Bar Flex® Trek Walking & Active Ageing Programming. SCW Fitness’ Pilates Matwork Specialty Certification programs for the fitness industry as well as the designer of Pilates Bowflex Training Program for Nautilus Health and Fitness Group. A former Reebok World Master Trainer, June is an ACE, AFAA, & ACSM Certified Health Fitness Instructor and a Physical Mind Institute Certified Pilates Trainer with over 40 combined years of dance and fitness experience. June has trained with the Peak Pilates MVe Team and was instrumental in helping to launch the MVe program in its initial debut. In addition, she is a subject matter expert for the ACE (American Council on Exercise) Instructor Certification Exam. Currently, June is working with the Physical Mind Institute and is a vital supporter of their products and programming including the TYE-4 & Head Floater with local launches scheduled throughout 2015. A Cancer survivor and attributing her recovery to her continued active lifestyle and clean eating, June is now is an advocate & national speaker of Movement Heals for Cancer patients and survivors. She is the author of Morning Cardio Workouts, published by Human Kinetics USA and contributes regularly to print and media including Shape, Pilates Style, IDEA Today, Weight Watchers, Living Fit, Fitness, Fit Pregnancy and Health Magazine, featured numerous times in the Boulder Daily Camera as well as appearing in over 20 DVD/Videos and is the Pilates Media Spokesperson for IDEA.. Heralded by Self-magazine as one of the "Top 20 Personal Trainers" in the USA, June has appeared on QVC, HSN and local media networks. On a personal note, June enjoys spending time with her sons Jonathan and Joshua, their wives and her Grandchildren: Taylor (11), Zoe (10), Adam (4) Ian (2) and a new grandson, Tyler, who arrived October 4 2015. She adores traveling the world with her life partner, Dave, has a passion for dance, snow skiing, hiking and biking the foothills in Colorado and has been an avid run/walker for years... June loves the arts, the theater and of course, shopping! Healthy cooking is a hobby!