It’s not uncommon for people to want a better-looking booty, but a great side effect of strengthening this area of the body is a healthier lower back. Your muscles hold your skeletal structure in—or out—of place, which can have a profound effect on how you feel and whether or not you experience pain. Strengthening and balancing your muscles helps to reduce both pain and fatigue, which means you’ll likely feel better as well as look better.
According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), nearly two-thirds of Americans experience low-back pain at some point in their lives. But, as the APTA rightly points out, most people focus on the symptoms rather than the cause of their back pain. Quite often, it’s actually either a lack of support, or too much tension, that creates an imbalance and triggers pain.
The glutes are comprised of the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. These muscles allow for hip extension, abduction (move laterally) and, for some, circumduction. They also support and stabilize the low back and pelvis as you move through numerous activities in sport and life. Here are three great exercises to build strength in the glutes, which can help relieve low-back pain.
Begin with a 5-minute warm up—a gentle walk may be sufficient.
Hip Bridge With Abduction
Lie face up on a mat, with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place a mini band around your legs, just above the knees. Lift your hips up off the floor to create a straight line from your neck to your knees. Do you best to keep your thighs lined up with the hip joints. Resist the inward pull of the band to strengthen your gluteus medius, which are the muscles to the outside of the hip. Bring your hips back down to the floor and repeat.
Perform three sets of 10-12 reps to start and progress as strength builds.
Squat With Hip Extension
Stand with feet about hip-distance apart. Place a resistance band under both feet and grasp the ends of the band in each hand. Lower down into a squat with your knees tracking over your toes. Squeeze your glutes and rise up out of the squat. Extend one leg back behind you into a hip extension without arching your low back. This movement strengthens the gluteus maximus, the biggest of the glute muscles. Bring your foot back to start and repeat the squat with hip extension on the other leg.
Perform three sets of 10-12 reps on each leg to start and progress as strength builds.
Lie on your side on the floor or mat. Place a mini band around the legs, just above the knees with knees bent. From a side-lying position, either propped on your elbow or lying all the way down, slowly open and close your knees. To increase the intensity of this movement, lift your hips off the floor into a side plank and perform the clamshell movement from there.
Perform three sets of 10-12 reps on each side to start and progress as strength builds.
Before you begin this or any other exercise program, be sure to receive your physician’s clearance.
Learn more about low-back pain relief in our best-selling webinar: Low Back Health Begins with the Core.