Thinking about working your glutes? You absolutely should! These huge derrière muscles deserve attention — and praise! And they're vital to your overall health. POPSUGAR chatted with injury prevention specialist, personal trainer, and all-around glute expert Liz Letchford, MS, ATC, about why building out the backside has more benefits than just the visually pleasing ones.
Yes, you'll have a confidence boost, and YES, you'll fill out those yoga pants a little more (woo!), but the best part of having a strong set of glutes is about your overall health — in ways that you'd never guess, too! Check it out.
Strength and Stability
Whether you're lifting a heavy box, climbing a hill, hiking a trail, standing up from a chair, balancing on one leg, or keeping yourself from toppling over on a lurching subway, strong glutes will be there for you. With better butt muscles, you'll crush your workouts, feel stronger, and move through your day more easily without getting tired (and without back pain!).
You might be adding a little weight to the back of your body, but it'll give you the right balance and postural support you need. "Often, people will 'recruit their back' — or use their lumbar spine to do the work of the glutes," Liz said. She calls this "back butt" and noted that it's pretty common.
"I can tell exactly who these 'back butts' are, because these people are arching their backs when trying to extend their hips," Liz said. Over time, this impacts your posture, and while it might feel normal to you, it can build up to create pain and — worse — injuries.
Relieve and Prevent Back Pain
"The glutes' primary function is to extend the hip," Liz said, but as mentioned, many people compensate for weaker booties by using their lower back. "This means back pain and tight and weak hamstrings" — so work on that posterior chain and get the back of your legs strong! Strong booty, less pain.
Obviously, no one wants a spinal injury, but a weak backside plus a lot of exercise and exertion can lead to just that. Weak glutes that compromise the spine can "create the risk of a herniated disc." No bueno. Prevent this by giving your booty some extra attention and strength training. "When your glutes are functionally strong, you are protecting your spine from injury," Liz said.
Better Metabolism — Naturally Burn More Calories!
The glutes are huge muscles. In fact, the gluteus maximus (as the name would infer) is THE largest muscle by volume in the human body. And when you have more muscle, you burn more calories — because muscle burns more than fat and requires more fuel from the body.
What we're trying to say is, the booty gains will give you a better metabolism! Increasing your muscle volume and growing that area little by little will create a calorie-burning powerhouse on your backside.