"Gluteal amnesia" is a great phrase coined by Stuart McGill, PhD, one of the world's foremost experts on spine biomechanics. And you know what? Based on the athletes we see coming into our Gait Analysis Lab every day, you probably have it. And it's not a good thing.
So much of athletic performance depends on the optimal functioning of your butt and all the gluteal muscles--maximus, medius and minimus--in concert with the functional integrity of your hips and pelvis. This is the powerhouse that generates propulsive athletic movement, and when functioning properly, is majorly important in helping to prevent injuries.
"Gluteal amnesia" is particularly detrimental to athletes. Many of us in modern society have lost our ability to engage the butt muscles and hips during exercise due to lifestyles that include a great deal of sitting, driving, being hunched over a computer, etc. When the ability to move correctly and with functional integrity is lost, performance is adversely affected for sure, and the risk of injury rises exponentially.
Functional Integity of the Pelvis & Hips: Gluteal Activation Enhances Athleticism and Injury Prevention, published in Dynamic Chiropractic, is a great article that goes in-depth on the importance of the function of the glutes, hips, and pelvis. It's worth your time to read it for a deeper understanding of how important the issue is to your athletic performance.
We want to make clear, however, that overcoming "gluteal amnesia" is about more than simply strengthening the glutes. We encourage you to revisit our posts on functional strength training and authentic movement to learn more about the importance of establishing and owning a neutral pelvis, achieving muscular balance, and becoming stable. Getting functionally strong, activating your glutes, and strengthening your hips is far more than just throwing a bunch of exercises at your body, especially if you do them with bad form, or if they're an incorrect exercise for you. We hope to help you put the pieces together to learn how exceptional athleticism is derived, then have you take action. Conquering overall "functional amnesia" is how to unlock your potential, and become the best athlete you can be.