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Get Your Butt in Gear

Written on September 6, 2004 at 2:52 pm, by Eric Cressey

We need an appropriate balance between strength and mobility in our hips. This is true if we want to squat or deadlift more weight, jump higher or sprint faster. A world-renowned philosopher by the name of Coolio may have said it best: “You can’t have da’ hop if ya don’t have da’ hip!” It’s no surprise that athletes in sports like Olympic lifting, powerlifting and sprinting have amazing overall development in both flexibility and strength of the hip musculature.

We see tons of injuries to the hamstrings and lower back, but rarely encounter any sort of injury to the glutes. The fact of the matter is that most athletes are tight in the hamstrings, lower back and hip flexors. This collection of problems is related to a lack of strength and motor control in the gluteal muscles. When the hip flexors (antagonists to the gluteus maximus) are overactive, the gluteus maximus becomes weak via a mechanism known as reciprocal inhibition.

Furthermore, when our “butt” muscles aren’t up to the task, the hamstrings and erector spinae muscles are forced to work overtime to compensate. This is known as synergistic dominance. This unfortunate cycle often results in injury, or at the very least, sub-optimal levels of performance.

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  • Ryan

    This is a great article. It applies directly to me. i have poor flexability in my hamstrings and hips and i dont use my glutes nearly enough leading to constant lower back pain. i had a screening done and showed all these defecincies.i began doing the program they put me on but i didn\’t feel any difference. would that workout on t-nation be something i should feel working my glutes within the first workout? becuz i’m looking for something to help me use my glutes more and train them. any suggestions or ideas, would be greatly appreciated.

    Ryan
    Detroit, MI

  • Barney

    I am a righthanded pitcher and I injured/pulled my hamstring on my landing leg (left leg) while pitching in Jun 14 and it still bothers me in Oct 14 when I pitch. I think it has something to do with landing in a closed position. I read several pitching mechanic article that stated to increase velocity your landing leg needs to be closed and the torque of your core and throwing across your body would increase velocity. This technique seemed to work but it put alot of pressure on my landing hamstring. Is there anything I can do to correct the issue?

  • Barney,

    Tough to handle over the internet, unfortunately. I’d encourage you to find a good physical therapist in your area to help you along.


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