Ask most women what they’d like to work on in the gym and they’ll say they like to tone certain areas of the body, increase their strength and flatten their midsection.
Believe it or not guys want the same things.
But they’ll word it differently. Guys will want to build and define, have a six packed or ripped abs as well as big arms.
And often times for flat stomach or ripped abs there’s a knee jerk reaction to doing some form of cardio. Which doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. I’m just saying this is where many people turn to when they want to burn some calories and shed some fat.
So how is that getting outside and running trails won’t give you glutes of steel?
Well they won’t if you sprain your ankle.
Can you picture someone walking around with a sprained ankle? The ankle is in a plantar (or toes pointed) position usually, isn’t it?
We avoid walking in a heel-toe type manner because we don’t want to put additional strain on the injured joint.
So we hobble around on the ball of our foot. Or maybe we use crutches but we’re still only applying weight to the ball of the foot.
And guess what happens?
We stop using our glutes and we reply instead on our calves, quads and hip flexors.
Why does this happen?
Because we fire our glutes maximally when we push through our heels (planted into the ground) and drive the hips forward.
Think there might be some glute activation going on here?
Now imagine how hard it would be to achieve this same level of glute activation standing on the balls of the feet? To save you the time of trying this out on your own, it would be impossible.
But it gets worse.
How much running, sprinting, rope jumping etc do you do when you have a sprained ankle?
Pretty much zero, right?
You’re either on crutches, in a wheel chair or on the couch watching 2OT with your foot elevated on ice.
Why does this matter?
Because standing allows you to extend the knees and hips and activate the glutes as we mentioned.
But it gets worse.
As long as you are in a sitting position the hips are in a flexed position. This means the muscles that help raise the raise the leg and bend the body forward are working almost all of the time.
And they get fatigued and tight. Try doing a straight leg raise on your back and you may notice your hip flexors cramp up as you try and raise your leg as high as possible.
Just another confirmation that while the muscles on the backside of the body (your glutes) aren’t working to capacity the muscles on the front side are working overtime.
And as soon as you test these muscles they may demonstrate this overload by cramping or fatiguing quickly.
So, if you are looking to tone your glutes this summer make sure to include a variety of exercises to accompllish this. And to recap, I don’t mean trail running is a bad idea. But if you do sprain your ankle you will need to have a number of contingencies in place to address your injury and prevent weak glutes.
Not sure how to do this on your own?
We have a solution (for as little as $8/session) but is very time sensitive. We may still have a spot for you. Call today.
Chris okanaganpeakperformance.com ‘always moving forward’