Mon | Mar 27, 2023

Fit 4 Life | How are your assets performing?

Published:Tuesday | September 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMMarvin Gordon/Contributor
The glutes play a number of important functions.


Four common signs of weak glutes

Big butts are all the rage nowadays. Women try everything from squats to the latest band exercise craze, and even injections and surgery to enhance the aesthetic appeal of their assets. But does it serve any real purpose other than looking good?

Aesthetics fall way down on the list of essential functions of the glutes. However, the importance of well-functioning glutes tends to get lost in this mad scramble for beauty.

Let's explore some of those functions and the warning signs which appear when your glutes don't do their job.

The main glute muscles are the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius and the gluteus maximus.

Their main action is control of the hip joint:

- The gluteus maximus' primary action is hip extension. It is also involved in hip rotation and, to a lesser extent, adduction.

- The gluteus medius' main action is hip joint abduction.

- The gluteus minimus' main action is inward rotation of the leg.

These functions are important in everyday activities such as walking and standing.


1. Knee pain

The knee joint has no real stability built in the bones - picture trying to get a stick to stand on the end of another. It instead depends on a delicate balance facilitated by the surrounding tissue for stability - the ligaments, muscles, etc.

When these tissues cannot guarantee stability, the result is pain and injury. When the glutes are too weak to help provide stability of the femur, unexplained knee pain often occurs, especially if the hamstrings are also weak.

2. Lower-back soreness or pain

Lower back pain is a common result of issues with the glutes. When the glutes cannot do their job, other muscle groups are forced to try and compensate. The lower back is one area that is usually affected by this overuse, resulting in soreness and pain.

3. Your glutes never feel 'worked'

If after a killer leg routine your glutes don't feel as well-worked or sore as the rest of your lower body, your glutes are likely very weak. Leg exercises such as squats and deadlifts involve the glutes heavily, unless they cannot handle the job. In which case, other muscles such as the quads or hamstrings take up the slack in a dangerous arrangement that can lead to further imbalance or injury.

4. Poor posture

Bad posture appears both on the causes and effects list when it comes to gluteal muscle issues. The glutes play an important role in holding you upright by providing stability at the hips. Tight or weak glutes can lead to a host of postural deviations and imbalances such as flatback.

- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email:;