Gluteals and thighs: It's just a jump to the left.
This week, it’s all about your thighs and gluteal muscles. If you’ve ever done the Time Warp (from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”), you’ve used every one of these muscles. Let’s do the Time Warp again!
IT’S JUST A JUMP TO THE LEFT, AND THEN A STEP TO THE RIGHT: Jumping takes those low leg muscles we talked about last week, plus your back and your core and your glutes — just about everything. For now, let’s talk about the step to the right. When you put your leg out to the side, you’re mostly using your gluteus medius, located on the side of your hip. It’s also important for providing stability to your core. It’s a tough muscle to stretch. When it becomes overly tightened, you’ll notice yourself not only becoming fatigued with exercise, but also developing low back problems. Loosening this important muscle with stretching, heat, and massage is crucial.
Another muscle involved in this movement is piriformis, which we’ve talked about here: https://www.flowholisticwellness.com/single-post/2018/07/16/Why-does-my-butt-hurt. Google is your friend in finding effective stretches for piriformis and gluteus medius. If you need help, email or text me for ideas.
WITH YOUR HANDS ON YOUR HIPS, YOU BRING YOUR KNEES IN TIGHT: Well, now you know you’re putting your hands on your gluteus medius. When you bring those knees in tight (as in the photo above), you’re exercising your adductors. This set of muscles that runs down the inside of your thigh rotates your hips to the inside, which brings your knees together. Shortened, tightened muscles here also can throw your lower back out of whack — remember, it’s all connected. The butterfly stretch (demonstrated below) is one good stretch for these muscles.
BUT IT’S THE PELVIC THRUST …: One of the muscles you’re using in that pelvic thrust is gluteus maximus. We will politely call it “the Kim Kardashian muscle.” This is the largest muscle in your hips, and its primary purpose is to extend your hip. It gets strengthened every time you climb the steps. When you get a massage from me, I will ask whether you’re comfortable with being massaged in your gluteals. For leg problems as well as aching low backs, it’s deeply beneficial.
The hamstrings, in the back of your thighs, also contribute to this motion. They get a workout when you walk or run. I’m spending less time there because most people are aware of ways to stretch them. Simply doing a forward bend is one way, though it might not be kind to bad backs. Ask if you need other suggestions.
Finally, we need to talk about your quadriceps, which lie in the front of your thigh and flex your hip. This muscle attaches at your knee and, if tightened, can actually pull your kneecap out of place. Massage can help alleviate this painful condition, known as patellofemoral syndrome.
Next week is all about your core!
Be well, healthy, and whole,