The Wonders Of Pilates

Ahhh, the Glorious Gluteus Medius! Such an important yet overlooked and forgotten muscle. The poor little chap is usually lost in the spotlight to its larger sibling Gluteus Maximus :(.  If we just paid this muscle a little bit more attention and gave it a little more TLC, we could not only avoid possible injury to the low back, but also to the knee, ankle and even the shoulder! We could also experience much more strength and fluidity in movement and become much more dynamic and efficient in sports and life in general. Bold statement I know, but I am standing by it.

In my opinion the Gluteus Medius is the most important muscle in the lower body.  The reason that it is so important is because it is one of the main muscles that control rotational forces throughout the hip.  The Glute’s are very important muscles that become weak, and the Gluteus Medius is probably the number one culprit. So many injuries are caused by a lack of controlled rotation and force in the hip/leg.

Why is correct rotation of the hip so important you ask? Well, if you take a look at the lower body you will find that the hip is the main part that wants to and should rotate. The lower back does not like rotation nor does the knee or ankle. In fact if you look at common knee or back injuries allot of them are caused by forced rotation of the lower back, knee or ankle. The muscle that controls that rotation is the Gluteus Medius and some of the other smaller deep hip rotators.

When athletes have a complaint about their lateral knee pain, more then likely this is caused by a tight IT Band (Iliotibial Band). If you have ever used a Foam Roller on the side of your leg then I am certain that you are more then aware of how tight and problematic the IT Band can be. Well, the IT Band is the muscle (or fascia actually) that comes to the rescue of the weak Gluteus Medius. What the IT Band is trying to do is to control the motion of the leg, which is far better and more efficiently done by the Gluteus Medius.

How do shoulder injuries have anything to do with the correct function and power of the Gluteus Medius you ask? Well, if you look at many sports that have anything to do with hitting or throwing a ball (Baseball, Tennis, Football), over 50% of the balls speed should come from the trunk, the back, hips and legs. Let me say that again OVER 50%! This means that before the shoulder gets involved in the throw or hit of the ball, the body from the shoulder girdle down should generate over 50% of the power that gives the ball its speed and force! If your Gluteus Medius is not working to do this then the result can not only be a less powerful movement (pitch, throw or hit). Make since??

If the Gluteus Medius does its job then the shoulder, knee, ankle, back and the WORLD are a much better place!

How can Pilates help?

Pilates will teach and help to create new muscle memory and patterns. Your brain holds onto incorrect muscle patterns that are developed through improper movement and or over use. It is important to teach the Gluteus Medius to get to work and to stop being so lazy. This is done first and foremost by working with its current range of motion and firing capabilities and being able to distinguish and tell when you are using other muscles incorrectly to compensate.

We have allot of fun tricks and methods in the Pilates room at Fitness Quest 10 to help you awaken that Gluteus Medius and turn it into that powerful and functional Hip Rotator that it was born to be!  Hope to see you in there soon!

-Stephanie Scarbrough
Certified Pilates Instructor & Massage Therapist

Stephanie Scarbrough was born and raised in sunny Southern California. She is a Certified Pilates Instructor and Massage Therapist.  Stephanie moved to Salt Lake City Utah after high school to attend the 1,000 hour Massage Therapy Certification Program at U.C.M.T. After graduation Stephanie moved back to California where she continued her nine year massage career mostly in Chiropractic offices focusing on Injury, Deep Tissue and Sports Massage, but has also worked in Spa’s, Private Practice and was an Instructor of Massage Therapy at Concorde Career College in San Bernardino, California.  She discovered Pilates as a form of rehabilitation for her injuries and feel in love with it. Stephanie then attended The Sheppard Method 450 hour Pilates Certification program in Los Angeles California. She is certified in Pilates Mat, Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair and Latter Barrel.

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About kylesands
Director of Marketing at Fitness Quest 10

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