Did you know that a source of your knee pain may not be the knee? This one muscle may be causing a lot of your knee issues and it’s not even connected to your knee. It’s way underrated but very important.
I’ll confess that in late 2013 and all of 2014 I virtually stopped doing any strength training. I paid a heavy price for that decision. In 2014 I tore my right meniscus running that I eventually had to have surgery to repair. The cause was an extremely weak glut. My left side of my body; legs, butt and core, were always weaker than my right side. Thus my right side had to work overtime to compensate. When I placed a great deal of wear and tear to my body through training for the Ironman the right side simply gave out and I eventually tore my meniscus in my right knee.
Having knee surgery and the possible outcome of never running again caught my attention. Since then I’ve dedicated a great deal of attention to rebuilding the strength in my entire body.
Pilates and Glut Strength Training
Below are four exercises that focus on building strength in your gluts (butt) and thus stabilizing your knee. Two of the exercises are done using the Pilates reformer machine. The benefit of the reformer is you’re not loading your entire body weight on your back, it specifically targets the one muscle and isolates it and you have to engage your core simultaneously as you target your gluts. In the absence of a reformer you can use a large stability ball to raise your body from the ground.
Number of Reps and Sets
Always starting anything for the first time start easy and build up. If you’ve never used a Pilates reformer then you may not be able to do one leg at a time. You may have to start with both legs. Your goal is to always do one leg at a time to specifically target the muscle. When you use both legs at a time, like in dual leg squats, the stronger leg will alway overrule. This is why it’s best to work toward one leg routines.
On the Pilates you may start with 3 sets of 5. As you extend as illustrated you’ll want to make sure you feel it in the glut. If you feel it in your quadriceps then they are being recruited and you’ll want to stop and refocus making sure your glut is doing the work. In the extension phase hold the pose for 5 seconds before you raise up via the glut and hamstring, keeping the core extremely engaged and body flat, and again hold for 5 secs. In time increase the number of 5 second reps.
The same holds true with the other three routines. Start with 3 sets of 5 reps and work up to 10-15 reps.