When Tiger Woods cited the inability of his glutes to “activate” as a reason he had to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open last month, it led to a spate of online mockery of one of the world’s greatest athletes.
“He’s become the butt of bad jokes.”
“Guess Tiger’s glutes aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.”
These were just some of the tweets from comedians, golf pundits and everyday fans of the sport. But despite all the snickering, Tiger is not talking out of his …. asymmetrical swing.
You need strong glutes (yes, those are your butt muscles) for a powerful, stable golf swing. They support the torso at address, and we all know a good core is also key to a good golf swing.
So what happens when you’re glutes are weak, or inactive? Often, the lower back tries to compensate, but your lower back muscles are not designed to do what your glutes do. So this can lead to pain in the lower back, around the lumbar disc, and inflammation.
Ask any weightlifter and they will tell you that strong glutes are essential to powerlifting. No amount of compensation in the legs or back can help a powerlifter achieve maximum performance if the glutes are deactivated. The same goes for a pro golfer who needs to strike it a minimum of 275 yards off the tee. The distance simply isn’t achievable without activated glutes.
You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to need strong glutes. Lower back pain is one of the most common problems cited by people age 50 and older for poor sleep, poor concentration and poor moods. And the sedentary nature of our society isn’t helping. We binge-watch shows for hours on Netflix, Amazon or Hulu; work sitting in front of computers all day; and spend more and more of our free time in non-active recreation and communication with our smart phones and tablets.
If we don’t get off our butts and do something to strengthen them, the problem is going to reach epidemic proportions in the not-too-distant future.
So here is one routine you can do in less than 10 minutes that will assuredly make your glutes stronger. Try this just 3-4 times a week and you’ll notice a difference.
- Get on your hands and knees and lift one leg in the air with you heel pointed to the ceiling so your leg looks like an L. Now push that leg (the top of the L) pointing your heel toward the ceiling 25 times.
- After that, with your leg in the L position, extend your leg at the knee so it is horizontal but still off the ground, then bend it at the knee so it is once again at the L position. Do this 25 times.
- Next, kick out your knee in a “fire hydrant” stance (like a dog about to pee) and push your heel back again 25 times toward the wall behind you.
- After that, while still in the fire hydrant stance, extend your leg so it is straight (but still off the ground) then bring it back into the fire hydrant stance – 25 times.
- Return to the L position and bring your knee up toward your abdomen, then kick your heel straight back toward the wall. Do this 25 times.
- OK, now all you have to do is do the same routine with the other leg.
Do this in the morning straight out of bed and you will feel the difference. Do it after a 20-minute warmup run and you will feel a good burn that stays with you throughout the morning.
There are lots of other glute routines. The key is to find one that works for you and that you can make part of your routine.
Of course, there is an aesthetic benefit to working out your glutes that pays off for women and men. But those results speak for themselves.
Dr. Annette “Dr. Z” Zaharoff heads the Non-Surgical Center of Texas, focusing on non-surgical alternatives to relieve pain and repair injuries. A former professional tennis player who competed in the WTC circuit, Dr. Zaharoff remains actively involved with the US Tennis Association. Learn more about her at www.drzmd.com. You can follow her on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DrZaharoff