“Oh, you just need to activate your glutes!”
We’ve had clients come to us telling us that the reason they have pain is because their _______ [insert muscle] isn’t activating or isn't “turning on.”
While this is well meaning, it can be confusing. Let’s break it down:
Muscles don’t turn on and off or activate and deactivate. A muscle that isn’t working is quite literally what paralysis is. Think about that for a second. Have you been paralyzed recently? Probably not.
What’s REALLY happening is that some of our muscles end up becoming stronger than others. Our bodies are extremely adaptable, and they will figure out a way to get things done. If over time it becomes easier and more advantageous for us to use certain muscles more often to get things done, our bodies will default to it.
Because of this, our stronger muscles overcompensate for the weaker ones.Having weak muscles absolutely can lead to pain, discomfort, and a host of other things.
When you look at it that way it makes perfect sense that activating or turning on muscles isn’t the answer. The answer is actually strengthening the weaker muscles.
So how do we know which muscles are weaker and which are stronger? That’s where assessments come in. Spending the time to look at strength across joints is the best way to uncover muscular imbalances and to start addressing them.
So, next time someone tells you their glutes don’t turn on or activate, ask them if they can stand….
Ta-da! They work!