It’s an awesome new song with great lyrics. Megan Trainor certainly isn’t lying when she says, “it’s all about that bass”, and I’m going to tell you why, from a Physical Therapy stand point, at least. Anyone who takes my Pilates classes knows that I LOVE teaching glute exercises – squats, lunges, bridges – anything to get that “bass” going! … and it’s not just because I live in Miami, where “basses” are… ahem… popular. The Glutes, all three of them, are wonderful, but not just because they fill up jeans.
These three muscles: the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, are pivotal in not only squatting and lunging, but in walking, standing from a seated posture, holding us upright, providing amazing stability to our hips and spine, standing on one leg and many more. The gluteus maximus, the largest of the three, attaches from the ilium (on the pelvis) and then into two points on the femur below the greater trochanter (the big bony protrusion in the hip); the gluteus medius attaches from the ilium of the pelvis to the lateral femur above that big bony part; and the gluteus minimus attaches from the ilium of the pelvis to the front of the bony part. I know you’re all probably thinking “great, thanks for the useless anatomy lesson”, but if you understand that these muscles have major attachments from the pelvis onto various parts of the upper legs, my “lecture” might make a bit more sense.
When many people think of the gluteus maximus, I doubt that “key postural muscle” is what they are thinking. Because of this muscle’s large attachment to the pelvis and leg, in addition to its great size, the glute max plays a major role in holding us upright. The core muscles are extremely important, but without the gluteus maximus there to hold our pelvises on top of our legs, we would be staring at the ground. Strengthening the glute max becomes even more important if one sits a great part of the day and lets those hip flexors (the antagonistic muscle to the glute max) get nice and tight. In simple terms: we need nice strong gluteus maximi to stretch out those tight hip flexors we get from sitting all day in order to stand upright! This muscle also helps to stabilize the hip in standing and propelling us in walking, in addition to moving it every which way when using the different fibers of the muscle in isolation. The gluteus medius is equally as important. (Of course I would say that). Due to this muscle’s attachment points, it’s not much of a player in maintaining erect posture or extending the leg, but instead, it functions more to keep us standing on one leg.
Now, you might be thinking that you don’t stand on one leg often, but in fact, you stand on one leg every time you walk or run, for milliseconds at a time. If you didn’t have a nice strong glute medius to hold you on one leg, you would swing those hips from side to side more than Jessica Rabbit. That walk may have it’s place and time, but not ideal for your everyday walk. This muscle is also plays a major role in hip external rotation, or rotating the femur outwards. This concept might not sound important, but strong hip external rotators can help prevent us from pronating at our feet (rolling in on our arches). Nice neutral feet, as opposed to pronated ones, help keep our knees in a good alignment and protect them from abnormal wear, which can cause arthritis. The gluteus minimus might be small, but it really helps out its bigger brothers. This little guy assists the other two with hip internal and external rotation, as well as hip abduction. Simply put, it helps us our pelvis stay on top of our leg and helps our legs move.
To summarize, the gluteals serve to: keep us up upright, maintain natural alignment of the spine/pelvis/ankles/knees, walk, run, jump, stand, kick, pivot, dance, and fill jeans… just to name a few. Now do you see why it’s all about that BASS?
Alix Terpos PT, DPT
Image courtesy of sattva at freedigitalphotos.net
Join us for an informative and active workshop on Sunday, January 11th from 10am-12pm where Alix will be discussing and demonstrating the benefits of glute strengthening, postural exercise. This workshop will equip you with the necessary knowledge to fully understand why it’s all about the bass. The cost for this workshop is $40.00.
For more information email us at [email protected] or by phone: (305)446-6899.