To Squeeze or Not to Squeeze Those Glutes?!


 In the chiropractic clinic we are seeing an increase in hip problems especially amongst younger, athletic people.  Why?  I was at the British Chiropractic Association's conference last weekend and chiropractor Evan Osar revealed his thoughts in an interesting lecture.  Evan suggests many people use a strategy of 'hip gripping' (also known as 'butt gripping'!) which increases the risk of both low back and hip problems.  Many of us are walking around with our glutes squeezed either because we have learnt to from exercising (have you heard the phrase 'squeeze your glutes!'?) or we may use it as a compensation strategy following surgery or injury.

If you are able to maintain a neutral spine position and good hip alignment whilst squeezing your gluteal (buttock) muscles, then this isn't a problem.  If however, like many of us, you flex your lumbar spine and drive the ball of the hip joint forward into the front of its socket, then doing this repetitively increases the compressive forces on the discs of the spine and can cause irritation of the hip joint leading to impingement and cartilage damage such as labral tears.

You can check this on yourself;

  • Stand up.  Place your hands on the sides of your bottom.  Can you feel a divot or hollowing above your hips where your gluteal muscles are contracted? If your glutes are tight and you can feel a divot, chances are you are a 'hip gripper'!

  • Now, next move your hands to your lower back and keep them there whilst you squeeze your glutes.  Did you feel your spine move into your hands?  This means you are flexing your spine when you contract your glutes, which our spines don't like and can cause problems.

If you are gripping unnecessarily with your glutes, you will need to learn to relax them when you are doing things like standing and sitting that don't require high levels of glute activation.  Otherwise, you may set yourself up for hip and back problems down the line.

Call Alcester Chiropractic Clinic on 01789 773 147 if you have a back or hip problem or if you would like your posture checked by the chiropractor.

Joanne Thurston BSc DC

I can highly recommend the professionalism and care that I received. Sue

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