“Any time you see multiple factors contributing to dysfunction do NOT think ‘Wow, that’s complicated’, instead think ‘Look at all the potential issues I could address.'”-Brent Brookbush, A More Sophisticated Approach to Correcting Knee Dysfunction
Hey, you know where your glutes are, right? Your Gluteus Maximus? Gluteus Medius? And, maybe you can guess, the Gluteus Minimus, too? Stand straight, arms by your sides. Slowly reach around the back of your body, and see if you can find them. I’ll wait.
So now you know where your Glutes are, but did you know that they play an important in keeping us well? Did you know that weak or underused Glutes may be contributing to pain all throughout the posterior chain, including the very common lower-back pain, knee pain, even foot pain?
Many times I hear the question “what can I take for my ____pain?” And I do think we can address, say, mild knee pain with an herbal soak or rub. But is that a great long-term solution? Or can we stop it from happening so much by focusing on….the booty!
A movement practice that focuses on the Glutes is one possible solution for building a resilient posterior chain that may help prevent the injury and pain that comes from poor alignment, “Gluteal amnesia” and overreliance on the 3 Ps: padding, products and pathologizing.
Padding is overbuilt shoes, chairs, and support garments that we use.
Products are painkillers, various natural remedies for pain and (ugh) ice.
Pathologizing means adopting the attitude of “I’m just broken” or “I just have a BAD___insert body part here and there is nothing I can do about it.”
Here I must say that OF COURSE some people are differently abled. OF COURSE there are people who have serious health challenges, and these people should ALL seek professional help and not take their health advice from this blog. OF COURSE, there are times when using a rub or soaking in the tub make sense.
But please, let’s consider the booty, and its place in preventive care and rehab. As practitioners, we may want to check out people’s Glutes. (No, really.) When someone asks “what can I take for ___” we may ask what their movement practice looks like, and if their butt is working for them. Let’s learn a few basic Gluteus exercises, how to activate the muscles, how to get them engaged in our daily movements, for ourselves or for those we advise. It just might be a joy for herbalists to recognize how the glutes affect our whole system, to feel them working and to build up the strength and stamina that comes from strong buttocks!
And these movements can be integrated into our lives easily, from standing in a better position (feet pointed forward!) to squatting daily, from doing glute bridges while catching up on TV to band exercises while internetting. Multi-task!
I use stretchy bands which are widely available, cheap, portable and small, (They’re like Heavy Metal guitar riffs–use the heaviest you can stand) a slightly fancier band called the SlingShot, still pretty cheap, a large kettlebell for deadlifts and hip thrusts and the rest is mostly bodyweight –so the barrier to entry is very low.
I have listed my favorite exercise books in other posts, including Glute books. And yes, I’d be delighted to show you my favorite Glute moves.
Oh, and one more DO NOT for you today: