The power of a strong butt should never be underestimated, as gold-medal-winning heptathlete, Jessica Ennis-Hill, explains…
Working your glute muscles is beneficial for far more than just #bootygoals, as we’ll discover. But (no pun intended), for most of us, all that laptop time means we aren’t giving our bums the muscle attention it deserves.
From helping you run faster to improving your posture, here’s why it’s worth focusing on the biggest, heaviest and most powerful muscle in your body – and here’s how Jessica Ennis-Hill will help you do exactly that with her new 30-day Bum Challenge.
1. Strong glutes = better posture
“Your bum is made up of the gluteus maximus muscle, plus two muscles underneath, the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, and these work together to keep your hips, pelvis and core steady and your torso in line with your pelvis and also keep your upper body steady,” explains Jess.
“This means that by paying attention to your glutes in your workout, you inadvertently help your posture, which can reduce aches and pains and stop slouching.”
2. Strong glutes = less likely to get injured
There’s a strong link between weak glute muscles and developing injuries or aches and pains, such as lower back or knee pain, strained hamstrings, ankle sprains and anterior cruciate ligament problems.
“If your glutes aren’t strong enough for a particular movement,” says Jess, “it stands to reason that another muscle or joint will take on that load. But this can exert too much force on a part of the body that wasn’t designed for it.”
One example is knee pain. “Your glutes are connected to the iliotibial band – a band of connective tissue running down your outer thigh to your knee, which works with your knee ligaments. So weak glutes can trigger pain in your knee joint.”
Stronger gluteus maximus muscles will give you a more powerful push-off and mean you can maintain a faster pace when sprinting
3. Strong glutes = you’ll sprint faster
Yes, it’s true – the fastest sprinters are thought to have bigger glute muscles, so if you work yours, it makes sense that your sprinting power is amplified.
“Sprinting relies on your hip extensor muscles, which is made up of your hamstrings and a thigh muscle called the adductor magnus, as well as your gluteus maximus,” says Jess.
“These muscles exert most of their power during that split-second when your foot is on the ground, pushing the ground away from you. As a result, stronger gluteus maximus muscles will give you a more powerful push-off and mean you can maintain a faster pace.”
4. Strong glutes = you’ll feel fitter
Strong glutes aren’t just about speed, according to Jess, and a focus on building them can actually have a far-reaching impact on your fitness more broadly.
“Working your glutes will improve your overall fitness and flexibility because you’ll be able to jump higher, balance for longer, accelerate and decelerate, and make sudden changes of direction when running,” says Jess.
“This means that if you are into football, tennis, running, netball – you name it – if your glute strength is improved, over time you’ll see a positive impact on your all-round performance.”
A lot of glute-focused exercises, such as squats, help to reduce overall body fat and rev up your metabolism
5) Strong glutes = revved up metabolism
Whether or not losing weight is the goal, a lot of glute-focused exercises, such as squats, help to reduce overall body fat and rev up your metabolism because they target multiple muscles.
“Taking squats as our example,” says Jess, “you’ll see that this single move is great for the glutes, but it also targets your core, quads, hamstrings and lats. It makes sense then that the more muscles you use, the more work is required from your body and the more calories you are going to burn.”
The bottom line: Whether you want to improve your running pace, rev up your metabolism or build a pert peach, a focus on glute work really is beneficial for everything.
Want to focus your regime on your glutes? Then try Jessica Ennis-Hill’s brand-new 30-day glute challenge in the Jennis app.
Find out more about Jessica Ennis-Hill’s Jennis Fitness app here