In a world where most of us spend the majority of our waking hours in the dreadful seated position, our poor hips become overactive and tight, rendering our glutes weak and somewhat useless. A quick anatomy lesson will help illustrate this. According to wikipedia, “muscles work in pairs, and when a muscle works it needs to have an agonist (the contracting muscle) and an antagonist (the relaxing muscle).” These pairs are found on opposite sides of a joint or bone. For example, when you flex your bicep, the agonist is the bicep (the muscle which is “on”) and the antagonist is the tricep (the muscle which is “off”).
When we are seated for any period of time, the hip flexors (predominantly the psoas major & minor)) act as the agonist muscle. This leaves the glutes to fill the roll of the antagonist. Well, muscle “memory” works the other way as well. The glutes simply forget how to work. Even when we demand them to turn on before a deadlift or a squat. It doesn’t work that way unfortunately. After being neglected all day, they won’t just snap to it but have to be wooed to work for you.
The solution is a 3 step process to get the glutes firing again:
1. Myofascially compress the psoas. For those of you who were here for the myofascial compression technique for the psoas, you know just how tight that poor muscle was wound up. If you weren’t here check out this video as well as this one (from 3:00 min).
2. Stretch the hip flexors. The samson, wall, walking lunge stretches are all great. This one from Mobility WOD really targets the psoas is is fantastic.
3. Wake up the Glutes. The birddog, crab/hip bridges and march, lunges, clams, band side steps, RDLs, and good mornings (to name just a few) are ALL aimed at waking up your glutes. Too often I see people going through the motions during our warm ups and daydreaming about what weights they want to hit or who they want to beat in the metcon. And all too often, I see those same people perform less than optimum lifts because their gluteal amnesia sabotages their lifts.
So if you sit for long periods of time, get up every 15 minutes and stretch your hips, do a few lunges, and remind your glutes to do their job!
30 Kettlebell Swings
30 Sit ups