The beloved body part that is the butt is so much more than just… a butt. It’s composed of three muscles—the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus—that help you summit stairs and hills, take off at lightning speed, and look damn good in a pair of jeans.
And these muscles are actually part of a much more complex system, which is why glute strength does more than just give you a strong butt. Because your glutes are actually—wait for it—part of your core.
Wait, what? Yep, the more technical term for your core is the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, and it encompasses all the muscles that connect your trunk to your hips—including the glutes. Your glutes are essentially the base of the core, and if that base isn’t sturdy, it can compromise the whole thing.
“Decreased strength in the glutes can alter your optimal postural alignment and the pelvis’ position in standing or when exercising,” physical therapist Laurence Agénor, DPT, previously told Well+Good.
The good news is that strengthening your glutes can have ripple effects throughout the rest of your body. A strong backside can relieve knee pain, and even help reduce lower back pain.
“Many times, I have seen clients and athletes with general low back pain, and their low back pain decreases when they work on strengthening their glutes,” Gene Schafer, CSCS, owner of ARC Athletics in New York City, previously told Well+Good. “Doing something as simple as engaging your glutes when standing may actually take the stress from your low back and decrease back fatigue and low back pain.”
Because your core and your glutes work in tandem, it makes sense to work on your rear using a method like Pilates, in which maintaining a strong core throughout the workout is a necessity.
Give it a try in this 15-minute glute workout from Chloe de Winter of Go Chlo Pilates. In every set, she emphasizes the position of the core to make sure you’re engaging your glute muscles properly. For example, while lying on your side for clamshells, she instructs you to create some space between your ribcage and the floor, which keeps your torso stable and strong, and not balancing precariously. Later, while raising one leg while on hands and knees, her cue to engage your core will keep you from sinking into the opposite hip.
This keeps all the work focused in the right places, which results in a stronger butt—and truly, a stronger body.