Lesson 4: Coordinating

You’re more than halfway done with this course, and I truly hope it’s motivating and encouraging you while making you aware of how you can deeply apply core fitness to your daily life!

This lesson’s theme is Coordination:

Your glutes coordinate with many other muscles to keep you upright. They are crucial for overall body coordination + core coordination. This image shows you your gluteus maximus, medius and minimus connect your pelvis to your thigh bone!

Imagine how your glutes move things as they bunch and shorten, pulling on your hips and femur, or just holding those points in place… amazing!

As you have been working on the rear alignment of this vehicle our souls use to get around every day, I’ve asked you to focus on catching and correcting 3 things:

  • Tilting
  • Gripping
  • Shifting.

As you’ve worked to correct those compensation patterns you may have noticed the following scenarios:

Case #1 – Maybe when you found yourself gripping your tush, and you corrected it by melting the area around your tailbone, your hips wanted to dump forward into an anterior tilt or “swayback.” So then you had to correct that…

Case #2 – Maybe when you found yourself shifting your hips forward too far forward, you discovered that fixing that compensation pattern – shifting back into neutral – left you feeling like your shoulders were rounding. So then you had to correct that…

Case #3 – Perhaps when you found yourself gripping and tilting under (posterior tilt or tucking) especially while sneezing or coughing or doing any lifting, but when you tried to align your hips better, your pelvic floor suddenly felt vulnerable and you leaked a little …

Why is it that we fix one thing, something else yells for our attention?

Your gluteals are meant to coordinate with many other muscle groups, but when you first set your booty up to do the right job, the muscles that have been allowed to slack off say “What? What just happened? We have to do our real job now? But we forgot how to do that… wahhh!!!”

If you are Case #1 your compensation pattern was holding your pelvis in a semblance of steadiness, but fixing the gripping and tucking revealed tight hip flexors that make your lower back arch. So now we’ve revealed a need for coordination between the glutes and frontal thigh muscles.

If you are Case #2 your compensation pattern was hiding poor upper body posture because you were thrusting your hips forward to “Elvis Pelvis” your way into an upright spine and more square shoulders by leaning back slightly. Fixing it revealed tight chest muscles and perhaps also too-tight abdominal flexors, which is common in people who did loads of crunches and/or sit with a rounded spine and rounded shoulders.

If you are Case #3 your compensation pattern for a weak pelvic floor muscle group was to grip and tilt under. This is common because the glutes connect in the same place as your PF and gripping and tilting can take a load of that weak area.

Going Even Deeper…

These following images of the male and female pelvic floor show how the gluteus maximus connects and thus co-activates with the pelvic floor muscle groups of both males and females.

Note the gluteus maximus muscle at mthe “bottom” of each image and how it connects at the same junction as the coccygeus muscle and levator ani. This explains why people with PF dysfunction often clench their glutes to keep from soiling themselves. It helps… a little.

Everything is meant to coordinate in a connected pattern of co-recruitment, but our tight places yank and pull us the wrong ways.

Your hips {and glutes} don’t lie

Line your pelvis up, and if your bum is flat, then your glutes need work.

Line your hips up, and if your glutes have to work overtime to hold you there, ask what is pulling on them.

  • What feels tight?
  • What feels weak and imbalanced?
  • Which way do your hips want to go when you relax your glutes?

Set your glutes up to work right, and as they get stronger, they will point you to other weak places that you can strengthen.

If that sounds discouraging, and like you’ll never be done, you need to shift your attitude right along with your backside.

Because what’s really happening is the signals are finally getting through.

You’re tuning in, not tuning out. You’re listening to your body, and that is awesome! You’re following clues and figuring things out! You’re realizing that your glutes aren’t tilting, tucking, gripping, or shifting for no reason! They’re pointing you to another “naughty” muscle.

Start by chasing down that one obvious muscle that wants to make you grip or tilt or shift, and you’ll strike gold and unwrap several other issues you’re dealing with.

Tight hip flexors? The muscles in the front of your thigh and that attach to and weave around your frontal hip bones can wreak a lot of havoc on your core and body in general. If they are tight, guess what? Working the muscles on the back of your hips (i.e. your glutes) will stretch them, and when your hips aren’t tilting forward, your lower back isn’t compressed as badly!

Tight pectoral (chest) muscles that pull your shoulders forward? The muscles under your breasts do a number on your posture, and your posture can do a number on your chest muscles. Strengthening your glutes and keeping your hips aligned will also help you figure out your upper body, and guess what?

That soreness in your upper back and the roundness in your shoulders may also gradually go away as you open up the whole front of your body by doing what?

Wait for it…

Strengthen your posterior muscle sling

All the muscles that run down the back of your body are part of your posterior kinetic chain (i.e. the muscles that are responsible for backwards motions) and their key player is what?

Your glutes!

When your derriere dares to determine the direction  (there I go again) of your body by properly coordinating with other body parts, you open up a whole new world of strength.

And it starts with your hips’ position relative to your legs, relative to your spine, relative to your ribs, relative to your neck, relative to your feet. 

Your butt connects your lower body to your upper body, and without these huge, crucial muscles that coordinate with so many other muscles, well, we wouldn’t be able to coordinate picking up anything, let alone walking.

Strong gluteals protect the knees by stabilizing and mobilizing your thigh bones.

Strong gluteals transfer workload from the upper body to the lower body and upper body.

Get your glutes in gear so they can coordinate with (and reveal the tightness and weakness of) other muscles, and you’ll unlock the next piece of your fitness beyond your core.

Pay attention to 2 things this week:

  1. When you catch yourself shifting, tilting or gripping, notice which muscle group asks for your attention right after you correct that, and you’ll begin understanding how to coordinate your body better.
  2. Engage + Time yourself: When you realign, engage your core around that good alignment and start counting in your head. How long before you lose track or find yourself dumping out of alignment again?

Don’t stress about any of this feedback. It’s just feedback. It’s cheap information that connects you to how your body is currently coordinating so you can improve that coordination.

Next week, we will talk about what most people really want to talk about: Carving!

How do you carve a strong, firm booty?

Well, the routines you’ve been doing each week have hopefully put you on the right path already. Next week, in MEA 3:5 I’m going to spell out some clear tips.

So don’t go anywhere, okay?

See you soon!

-Beth & The Fit2B Team