Lesson 2: Compensating

Welcome to Lesson 2 of MEA 3: Get Your Glutes In Gear!

Last week, you learned some basics about your buttocks. My goal in this lesson is to teach you the importance of choosing glute co-activation over glute compensation.

This week’s routine: Backside Burner

Wait a moment!

Before you start exercising this week, I’d like to quickly get to the bottom of this important concept because it can sabotage everything you do to train and shape your booty if you don’t address it right now.

Here it is: 

COMPENSATING vs. COACTIVATING

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE???

We want our glutes to co-activate with our core, but we do not want them compensating for our core.

In other words, your glutes should partner with your core, not usurp it. Your glutes should fight for your stability alongside your abdominals, not against them.

There are 3 basic sensations which should alert you that your gluteals are compensating for your core:

1. SHIFTING – Notice when you’re shifting your hips forward. When your frontal hip bones are shifted forward over your toes instead of lined up over your heels, your glutes and core cannot coactivate properly.

2. GRIPPING – Notice when you’re clenching your buttocks unnecessarily. When you’re standing upright with your hips shifted forward, you are also likely gripping your tailbone with the muscles in your backside. When you’re tailbone is squeezed to death, your glutes are working unpaid overtime while your core is taking too many vacation days.

3. TILTING – Tucking your pelvis under is more correctly termed “posterior tilt” which is when your pubic bone is further forward than your frontal hip bones. Have a sway back where your hip bones are forward of your pubic bone is “anterior tilt.” Both are problematic, but there are more tuckers than untuckers. When you’re living life with your pelvis tucked or in “posterior tilt” you’re likely also gripping and shifting.

Compensation < Co-activation

Important Note: Myself and many of my fellow pros working in the core and pelvic floor fitness field sometimes get lazy and use the word tucking when we’re really referring to shifting or tilting.

Don’t let yourself get confused by the semantics. Tilting, shifting, tucking, and gripping are all compensation patterns that need to be corrected.

If you tell yourself to untuck and that helps you shift back or untilt or both, well, it’s all good, right?

I’m just trying to be REALLY precise in this lesson, because your derriere’s design is in the details. These little tests and the following short video should help!

TIME TO TEST YOURSELF

How can you see and feel when your gluteals are working with your core versus taking over for your core?

Test Your Tilt: Find 3 stickers. Put one over each frontal hip bone and one over your pubic bone. Make the triangle stand on it’s tip. Put all those bones in the same plane. This is called neutral. You can also touch the end of your tailbone {coccyx} and pubic bone and level them with each other. Altogether it makes a box. A box is sturdy.

Test Your Shift: Find a string that’s longer than your leg and tie something to the end of it to make a plumb line. Turn sideways in front of a mirror and hold the string at your hip to see where the weight falls. It should fall right at your side ankle bone.

Test Your Grip: Reach back with your hands and place them on the meatiest part of your bum. Shift your weight forward into your toes and back into your heels while you feel what happens in your core and glutes. If you feel your glutes bunch and grip, they’re taking over! Give them a shake. Melt the area around your tailbone while holding good alignment.

Here is a video of me demonstrating those tests.

That video shows how to place the sticker, ungrip your buns and play with a plumb line. Pay careful attention to how I show the difference between the plumb line on the front of the hip vs. side of the hip. There are insights into both, and I encourage you to research it for yourself.

We’ve started by by addressing what we don’t want {compensation} so that we can create space for what we do want {co-activation} which will be covered next week!

Enjoy the Backside Burner routine up there. It’s one of our originals – so I regret my outfit a lot LOL – and we’ve really upped our game since we filmed it. Still, it’s a major member fave and super effective!

Here’s to great glutes!
-Beth & The Fit2B Team