Work Your Glutes to Awaken Your Mind

The mind-body connection is a special thing. Think about it: your brain communicates with all of your organs and tells them when and how to function. In response, your muscles, skin, and digestive system all send information back to your brain with boots-on-the-ground data.

But for many of us, our mind-body connection is weak. The best way to rediscover it? Rediscover your glutes.

You’re probably thinking, I know exactly where my glutes are. I do squats every week, thankyouverymuch. Great. You’re on the right track. But, here’s the tricky thing about glutes: many of us think we are using them, but we aren’t.

We have three powerful gluteus muscles

  • gluteus maximus
  • gluteus medius
  • gluteus minimus.

These muscles are large and strong, so it seems natural that they would do most of the work, right? Wrong. Since so many of us sit for hours a day—in the car, at work, eating meals, unwinding at night—it is inevitable that, even if we work out regularly, our glutes begin to turn off.

When we are sitting so much, our hip flexors actually become short and tight, which encourages the glutes to become longer and weaker. Plus, reduced blood flow from all of that sitting causes our butt muscles to become malnourished and actually start losing connection to our brains. They actually lose the ability to properly respond to normal brain signals.

Long term, that means your glutes stop working the way they’re supposed to. They simply become desensitized to brain signals and lose their ability to fire properly. Effectively, you have a dead butt.

When our glutes become unresponsive, many of us actually end up using our hamstrings, hip flexors, and lower back muscles to do the work our glutes should be doing, and that’s not a good thing for your body or your brain.

Using those muscles instead of the glutes can actually encourage damaging lower back injury. Fostering a poor mind-body connection in your glutes only weakens your body’s awareness in other areas, making you less in control of your own body!

In fact, if you are looking to improve your body awareness, your glutes are the perfect place to start. Here are three exercises to start mindfully engaging your glutes and encouraging healthy mind-body communication.

Group of young sporty people in Bridge pose

1. Bridge Lifts

This exercise especially works the gluteus medius, which is important for hip and knee stability. If you have problems in either of those areas, definitely add this to your morning warm-up.

  • Lay on your back with your feet on the ground, hip width apart and parallel. When you reach your hands long by your side, you should be able to just touch your heels.
  • Pulling your belly button gently towards your spine to protect your lower back and pushing your feet into the ground, lift your butt directly towards the ceiling. Make sure you knit your rib cage in so it is not popping out. As you breathe, reach your thighs and knees away from you as you lift your glutes slightly higher towards the ceiling.
  • Hold for 3 seconds and gently roll back down. Repeat 10-20 times.
  • (If you don’t feel the glutes the first time, don’t give up. It may take some time to redevelop that connection. They should be burning. Keep at it.)

Fit woman strengthening her thigh muscles

2. Raise the Roof on all Fours

  • Get on your hands and knees, pointer finger pointing directly forward and knees parallel and hip width apart.
  • Gently pull your belly button towards your spine to protect your lower back.
  • Try to not move the rest of your body as you lift one leg long behind you so that you are making a straight line from your lifted heel to your head.
  • Bend that knee so that the thigh is parallel to the floor and your flexed foot is pressing towards the ceiling.
  • Make 20 small, controlled pulses towards the ceiling, being sure to keep the rest of your body strong and stable. Repeat on the other leg.

Fit man warming up doing squats stretching arms forward outdoors.

3. Remedial Squats

We all generally think we know how to squat, but everyone could use a refresher.

  • For remedial squats, lightly place your hands on something sturdy in front of you—a countertop, a radiator, a tree, anything.
  • Now lower yourself into your squat, using the sturdy object to prevent you from collapsing into your upper body and to keep the bulk of your weight over your heels.
  • Lower until your thighs are parallel to the ground (ideally). Hold for 3 seconds.
  • Not relying on your sturdy object too heavily, push through your feet to return to standing.
  • Repeat 20 times.
  • Once you regain control over your butt muscles, you can try this without a support. And, eventually, you can start to use weights—but only once you’ve redeveloped that brain-body connection.

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49 comments

Thomas M
Thomas M3 months ago

Thank you

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Jenny G
Jenny G4 months ago

Thanks for this information. I will try some of the exercises.

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Tania N
Tania N4 months ago

Thank you for the info

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Tania N
Tania N4 months ago

Thank you for the info

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Tania N
Tania N4 months ago

Thank you for the info

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Carole R
Carole R4 months ago

Good information.

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara4 months ago

exercise helps

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara4 months ago

th

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara4 months ago

ok

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Ellen J
E Away J4 months ago

Thanks.

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