Understanding what a muscle does is only as important as knowing how that action impacts the other muscles around it, because you are one huge muscle.
But while we’re on this public service announcement, thinking you can build up where you need it most and lose wherever you have already too much is denying faith in the infallible truth of genetics.
Some assess, some legs, AND some breasts are just written. Read it and weep, friends.
Something critical to understand before you look at any isolated piece of your anatomy is Reciprocal Inhibition. Reciprocal Inhibition is the physics that grounds the biological movement of our joints. Joints are the connections of bones, but the only thing that moves a bone is a muscle. Because it pulls on it, duh.
How does a muscle pull on a bone? This is possible due to its attachment, something people are referring to when they talk about the insertion and origin of a muscle, aka when a muscle begins and ends. So when your knee is straight both your quad and hamstrings are cooperating to make that joint action and they’re interacting when you sit and stand, run and jump, walking up and down stairs… Do you see? They’re always interacting. One pulls and the other gives it slack.
Glutes – The most accurately hyped muscle we have.
It’s everything for every lower body exercise and a marker of a divine human specimen in even the non-lifter physique. It gives us:
- Animal speed
- The propensity for a fat demolishing metabolism
- But wait there’s more, it fills jeans and a dress with sex
- Stabilizes a spine
- Makes a killer walk and turns heads time and time again.
The Glutes are a muscle Trifecta:
GLUTE Max…. GLUTE Med… GLUTE Min..
The GLUTE MAX is primarily responsible for the general shape of the butt and also the strongest contraction and power of all three. The GLUTE MAX does not work alone. It is involved with hip extension and this happens with the cooperation of the whole hip, front and back. The Glute Max is directly connected to the TFL and ITB. What is important for you to know is that weak glutes will typically result in an overworked ITB and knees that are injury prone. Under the direction of the Glute Max, the sustained connection of these three muscles is what keeps the knee in a stable extended position.
Activities: Hip extension & lateral rotation. KickBacks, on all fours Kick Ups, Squats.
The GLUTE MED & GLUTE MIN stabilize the hip and save knee ligaments, particularly the ACL. This is of course in an indirect fashion as they don’t touch. GLUTE MED’s and MIN’s are guaranteed to fire when using a resistance band for lateral work, BUT they are notorious for sleeping on the job or just being sleepy.
Activities: Standing Hip Extension, Abduction, & Stabilization.
1. Standing hip extension with RB around the thighs, take your leg behind you at a 45° angle and laterally.
2. Side-lying Leg Raise – with or without band.
3. Good ole’ Clamshell. Clamshell is a side-lying exercise, meaning you have shoulders and knees stacked on top of one another. With the resistance band at the skinniest part of the thigh (closest to the knee) you are going to keep the feet together as you left the top knee as high as you can.