Do you sit for work? Even if you don't chances are you sit for a good part of your day. Recent research has suggested that on average we sit for 9 hours each day!!!
All this sitting position does a lot of things to our bodies. Weight gain, reduced leg strength, muscle density and neck and lower back issues. One thing that we find increasingly that often is forgotten is gluteal weakness. The sitting position puts the the hips into a bent position leading to tightness of the hip flexors (at the front) and weakness of the gluteal hip extensors (at the back).
Weakess of the glutes then can lead to a spiral of further tightness of the hips and gradually increasing load and reliance on the lower back.
There are a LOT of exercises that can improve gluteal strength but a staple is the glute bridge and its progressions. The glute bridge is a favourite because it is relatively simple to perform, safe and it can be beneficial for everyone from elderlies that have trouble getting around through to athletes.
So let's start with the simple hip bridge, the most basic version. Paul Truong, Senior physio at our Casula clinic shows how its done.
If the hip bridge gets easy you can add holds or place a weight like a bar or dumbell on your hips to make the exercise more difficult.
You could also progress to a one leg version for a real challenge.
Another of our favourite progressions is the elevated bridge. This helps to increase the range through which the hip works. To add some stability challenge to this you can perform the exercise on an exercise ball. check out Paul's video below.
If you can do this version then the final version in our sequence is the walking bridge. We love this exercise because it also challenges your trunk stabilisers (core muscles) while also using your glute muscles.
Paul demonstrates it in the video below:
Give these a rtry and build your hip strength and save yourself from tight and weak hips!
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