The gluteals are a fundamental muscle group which allow us to perform not only our day-day activities but also our sporting and exercise demands. With life becoming more sedentary over this Covid-19 period for a lot of individuals, the need to strengthen and maintain our glute muscles has never been more important.
Are you are suffering from lower back aches, hip or knee pain when walking/running or have you noticed weakness in hip movements, then it is likely that your gluteals are a contributing factor.
Gluteal background and Function
This muscle group is comprised of 3 individual muscles: Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius and the Gluteus Minimus. Each muscle is situated on the posterior surface of the pelvis and they all attach over the hip joint. Due to their anatomical positioning, they are heavily involved in hip and pelvis stabilisation, facilitation of hip movements (abduction, extension and rotation), lower back support and knee biomechanics. Out of the 3 muscles, a dysfunctional glute Medius is likely to cause referred pain into the lower back and knees.
What is the crab walk exercise?
The crab walk exercise is a movement an individual performs side step movements whilst a resistance band is positioned around the outside of their thighs. The idea behind this exercise is to target the Glute Medius which is activated when the individual is standing on a single leg as they are performing the side step movement and when they are pushing against the resistance band that is placed around the outside of the thighs.
- One common mistake seen when performing this movement is not controlling the movement of the leg when pushing it away from the midline of the body. This is usually identified by taking to much of a big step to the side which will likely reduce the activation of the glute medius and incorporate other muscles to compensate.
- Similarly, another commonly seen mistake is not controlling the movement when bringing the contralateral leg inwards when performing the side steps. If the resistance isn’t properly controlled on the other leg as it is coming towards the midline of the body, then a lot of eccentric tension on the glute medius is lost.
- Another common mistake seen is too much progression too soon. If the resistance used is to heavy for the muscles to control, then muscular activation is reduced and compensation on other muscles to perform the movement will occur.
Crab walk hacks
- One crab walk hack is to keep the side steps relatively small so that maximal tension is placed on the gluteus medius muscle.
- Another hack is slowing the time taken to bring the leg outwards and inwards from and to the bodies midline. This will increase the concentric and eccentric forces that the muscles has to control. A good duration to aim for is around 3 seconds.
- Finally, a great way to further increase muscle strength is by adding resistance that is positioned below the knee (Ankle and Foot). By positioning resistance bands further away from the hips, the gluteal medius is challenged further to control the movement.
For more information about crab walks and glute exercises
This article was written by our team of specialist therapists at Perfect Balance Clinic. If you would like more specific advice about how our team can help you with this condition or symptoms you may be having, please complete the contact form below and one of the team will get back to you shortly.