By WIN Contributor: Dr. Nicholas Slowinski, Chiropractor

Well folks, we are into 2018 and although many things may be different at WIN, some things will never change.  That’s right, we want you to pursue the truest expression of health.  For many of you, this year might be the year you’re back in the gym, for some of you this is the first time you’ve taken on a new exercise regime, or maybe your new year resolution has nothing to do with fitness at all… I mean, January can be a difficult time to get our “butts” in gear (pun intended)!    All puns aside, it’s actually super important for your spinal health!

That’s right you loyal WIN blog readers, I’m talking about GLUTE ACTIVATION, and no…getting your bottom up out of that chair isn’t enough (although it’s a good start).

For those who were unaware, your glutes are actually made up of a group of 3 muscles, your gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and the smallest, gluteus minimus.  Both men and women in the gym have targeted these muscles for ages, but why is that important?

Well, although each of these muscles has an individual role, they all work together as part of the “Core”.

Now, it is no secret that the core is composed of many muscles, which make up the bulk of our trunk and thorax.  These muscles keep our spine stable and safe during all activities of daily living or athletic endeavors.

So if the glutes are such an important component of the core, how can we make sure they are as active as we need them to be!? 

A series of warm up glute activation exercises can help ensure our glutes are active, or hips and kinetic chain stay strong, and our back is protected from scary shear forces.  So here are my favourite glute activation exercises…

I use these as part of a dynamic warm up before progressing to other exercises that heavily recruit the glute muscles.  Such exercises may include squats, deadlifts or kettle bell swings.

As always, if you’re not sure your glutes are working as optimally as we’d like to see, or experience hesitation or discomfort, discuss this with a health care provider.

Ensuring the whole body is strong to prevent spinal concerns is a special interest in my practice.  For guidance with your back health and the connection between your back and your glutes, visit with me at WIN Health Solutions and I would be happy to help.