Glorious glutes: why you need them and how Barre Attack Classes will help you get them
If you’re a barre class regular, then the word “glutes” probably gets you thinking about knee repeaters, sliding discs, ankle weights, and squats – all the things you say you hate because they set your buns on fire, but really you love them because you know that strong glutes are good glutes. Or maybe you just think of the world-famous butts of Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez. Either way, for gorgeous glutes hit your next barre class and prepare yourself for a muscle-quivering work out.
First things first: what and where are your glute muscles?
Your gluteal muscles are a group of three muscles that make up your buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medias and gluteus minimus. Together, this group of muscles function to extend, abduct and rotate the hip joint. The gluteus maximus also supports knee extensions. It’s an impressive muscle group – one that is designed for strength but is often neglected by a lifestyle which sees us sitting on our butts more often than using them.
Sure, we all want a perky bottom – peachy in jeans, pert in a swimsuit – and aesthetics can be a very motivating factor when it comes to getting yourself to the studio for an early morning barre class. But our butt isn’t just there to look pretty. While you’re admiring your Upside-clad booty in all its post-barre class firmness, those muscles are working all kinds of magic for you. The more you look after them, the more they will look after you. Here are just two of the reasons we love working our glutes:
The gluteal muscles – especially the gluteus medius - are hip stabilisers. You’ll know from Pilates and barre training that stable, aligned hips are something we give a lot of attention to. That’s because keeping your hips aligned gets you on track to keeping the rest of your lower body aligned. You might think that your knees and ankles are too far away from you butt to benefit from glute strength but, like the old song goes, “the hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone’s connected to the knee bone…”. Single leg exercises at the barre in front of the mirror are a great way to check your alignment. For an extra challenge, take your hands of the barre and/or close your eyes – your wobbles and balance will give you a good sense of just how stable and aligned you are.
Lower back support
If your glutes are not strong enough to do the job they were designed for, then other parts of the body can start to take over in an attempt to pick up the slack. The lower back especially loves to step in when the glutes aren’t carrying their weight. For example, if the glutes aren’t activating effectively, the psoas muscle, a hip flexor that runs from the spine to the legs, can get stressed from over use which can contribute to back pain. If you have a very mobile and flexible back then you need to be particularly careful not to let it steal the show when you’re doing, say, butt and ball lifts. Listen to your barre instructor and remember your barre training: squeeze the glute – don’t contract the lower back - to get that lift.
Holly’s Barre Attack favourites
The burn is intense but that’s what makes the butt and ball sequence so damn good. Barre Attack instructor Holly Gibellini-Davis says: “I love the butt and ball or butt and weight lifts because they work mobility and stability at the same time and you can choose just how much you want to load up the glute.” Mobility and stability are what the glutes excel at, so they love nothing better than a good opportunity to support one hip as it flexes, rotates and abducts, and the other hip as it stays strong,still and square to the barre. “Yep, it hurts,” says Holly. “Believe me, I know. But glute exercises can’t kill you! So hang in there, keep your form, and nail those reps.”
We all love to hate our glute-strengthening exercises. They are seriously hard work. But this is one time that a pain in the butt is exactly what you need. So embrace the ache, squeeze a little harder, lift a little higher and then give those glutes a well-deserved pat and good long stretch. Ouch never felt so good.
Want to give the gift of glorious glutes to your clients? Then sign up for Australia’s premiere barre teacher training with Barre Attack today.