To squeeze or not to squeeze is the question today.
Let's take a look at some common myths around this cheeky topic:
Myth #1 To make your butt look better, squeeze your glutes.
NOPE! Look at the pictures here:
On the left is what your glute should look like, round and full.
Squeezing the glutes together makes them look flat on the bottom and the sides and full on the top.
That's not the look you're going for!
Myth # 2
To work your glutes appropriately and make them stronger, squeeze them when coming up from a squat, lunge, or deadlift...
To make your glutes look better and stronger, squeeze your glutes during exercises like bridges, Superman's, and pretty much any exercise that your legs move.
With both Myth #'s 2 and 3. You may 'feel' your glutes when you squeeze them during exercise but you may also 'feel' the front of your hip, getting the sensation of tightness or pain as well.
In the picture below, you can see what happens to your femur or thigh bone in your hip socket when you constantly squeeze your glutes. The bone starts to migrate forward in the socket rather than staying in the joint centre. This position then leads to tightness or pain in the front of the hip.
Why is this important?
The bone moving forward and staying there will start to break down muscles, ligaments, cartilage, etc. specifically the front of your hip joint, and can accelerate the wear and tear on your joints.
When the bone is off-centre, the muscles that move your joint cannot work as efficiently and can lead to muscle imbalances. Thus, leading to further injury.
You may first feel tightness in the front of your hip. This sensation is the muscle on constant overstretch (like a rubber band being stretched out) as the bone moves and stays forward in the socket.
Next, you may feel a pinching sensation in the front of your hip when you get up from sitting or bring your knee to your chest.
Over time, this may lead to the need for a completely new joint in other words, surgery.
So can you stop this?
Yes, you can!
#1. Stop squeezing your glutes!
#2 Use the simple A-B-Cs of the Integrative Movement System, it will set you up for success when exercising and save your joints!
- A is for alignment. Stack your joints in the most optimal alignment for loading and moving during exercise and you will decrease the wear and tear on your joints. When you stay in good alignment, you will 'feel' your glutes working without having to add the squeeze at the end.
- B is for breathing. Three-dimensional breathing helps activate the deep muscles of your hip joint (psoas and deep glutes) that help keep your femur in centred in the hip socket.
- C is for control or using the right effort for the exercise. If you are doing bodyweight squats, you should not need much effort to do them—no need to squeeze or recruit extra muscles. However, if you are deadlifting 200 lbs, you may need to recruit more muscles during that specific exercise.
While the idea of 'squeeze your glutes' has been around for decades, we hope this has given you insight into why this is not the best way to have great glutes or make them stronger.
You can make your glutes stronger and look great by simply using the ABCs and listen to your body. If you get tight or have pain during or after an exercise, your body did not agree with it. You may need to check your alignment, modify the depth, the weight, or number of reps you complete.
If you have questions about anything in this article, please reach out. If you feel this may help someone you know, please be sure to send them a link.