Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Benefits of a Strong Butt

First of all, a strong butt does not mean no butt. Current trends in popular culture, with emaciated models and super skinny actresses, have made real women feel that in any extra "junk in the trunk" is unattractive and undesirable. Not only is this body style not realistic for most women, it is not ideal. In fact, women are genetically predisposed to carry extra weight in their lower bodies to help in childbearing. Additionally, in many cultures a full bottom is considered very desirable and sexy, and a full, round derriere is envied and appreciated by men and women alike.

That being said, a strong, healthy butt offers many health benefits, in addition to making us look and feel better in our jeans. First of all, because of the large size of the muscle group that make up the posterior, the butt muscles make the rest of our bodies work more efficiently.

According to Fred DeVito,V.P. Of Exhale Spa, the Glutteal group (medius, minimus and maximus) form one of the largest muscle groups in the body. Consequently, muscle tone in this area helps to create a strong support base for the pelvic girdle.

DeVito says, "This supportive base relieves pressure on the lower back and also allows for more efficient posterior leg function in movement as well as in standing postures."

Additionally, according to Michael J. Donovan, Ph.D., Presidential Management Fellow at National Institutes of Health, "Strong gluteals can improve your posture, minimize your effort to walk, especially upstairs, and can help with heavy lifting." The "butt muscles" are partly responsible for keeping us upright. Moreover, strong gluteal muscles provide muscular power formost aerobic activities.

A strong butt ensures maximal muscle efficiency. "When the gluteal muscles are weak other muscles are recruited to produce certain movements. These recruited muscles function best in a supporting role, so the result will be weaker and, over time, could develop into a chronic, overuse-type injury," says Donovan. Also, the gluteals stabilize the hip joint and, consequently, play a major role in keeping the knee healthy. Strong gluteal muscles help control hip and thigh movement, preventing the knees from folding inward.

Donovan explains, "This is a common problem in women because the female pelvis is wider than the male pelvis, forming a more acute angle between the hip and knee. Hence, strong gluteal muscles help strengthen the hip joint thereby stabilizing the knee joint and helping to prevent knee pain." In fact, the health benefits of having strong gluteal muscles are so well recognized at this point, that development and strengthening of these muscles is a focus of rehabilitation therapy.

Irv Rubenstein, Ph.D. Exercise Physiology and President of, STEPS, Inc. explains that because "studies show high correlations between non-functioning gluteus medius and acl injury, patellofemoral pain syndrome, and low back pain risk, rehab is now directed toward developing the glute medius first in function, then endurance, then strength."

In addition to the health benefits strong gluteal muscles provide to the overall functioning of other muscle and joint systems, they also perform an important metabolic function and play an important role in weight management.

Accorrding to Fred DeVito, "Because these muscles are large in mass, when toned, they are engines that burn calories for fuel. While all muscles act in this way, the gluteals have the greatest potential for burning calories (even at rest) due to their size and mass." The more muscle you have, the more fat your body is able to burn when you are in a resting state.

Since the glutes are a large muscle group, strengthening and increasing your muscles there will begin instantly burning fat. Carrying around excess body fat wears down your muscles and fatigues your body. By carrying around this extra weight, your body is using up the energy you need to work and play. This fatigue can also affect your mood dramatically. Rob Price at, a certified personal trainer and the author of The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Sports.

Numerous health benefits derive from a healthy, strong butt. In addition to making our posture better, our knees function better, our hips less prone to injury and pain, and our other muscles groups work more efficiently, they also turn our bodies into fat-burning machines that enable us to burn calories even while resting. A follow-up article will discuss in detail easy ways to strengthen these important muscles so that your body can get the full health benefits of having a strong butt. Not to mention, you'll look great in your jeans.

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