Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: September 2017


The answer to low back pain is not what you think

"If your back hurts it's your butt's fault."

Those are wise words from one of my favorite massage and bodywork educators, Erik Dalton. Weak gluteal muscles are very common today, which is not surprising considering 86 percent of American full-time workers sit all day, every day. With such sedentary lifestyles, our gluteal muscles lack the strength to extend the hips during activities like walking and running.

To compensate for weak gluteus maximus muscles (the broad muscles that cover our entire buttocks), the hamstrings and low back try to take on the load. Although both the hamstrings and low back are supposed to activate during hip extension (bringing your leg back behind you), gluteus maximus should do most of the work. When the hamstrings and low back try to pick up the slack for weak glutes, pain and injuries often occur, including hamstring strains and tears, low back spasms, disc degeneration, and sciatic nerve compression.

If you have tight hamstrings or low back pain, you might have weak gluteal muscles. Strengthening gluteus maximus can be a challenge. With chronically weak glutes, there is often an interruption in communication between the brain and the glutes. You may find that when you try to activate your glutes, nothing happens. In this case, the most important thing to do is strengthen that signal. By simply trying to contract your gluteus maximus, your brain is sending a message to the muscle fibers. Keep it up and your glutes will eventually respond!

Strengthening your gluteus maximus will likely ease your hamstrings and low back pain and tightness. Even more, walking and running will be less effortful, and more efficient and enjoyable. But how does one strengthen the gluteus maximus? I'm glad you asked. Follow along in the 6-minute video below as I lead you through three very simple exercises that will have your glutes fired up in no time!

How to strengthen a weak gluteus maximus to alleviate low back pain and tight hamstrings

Do you have low back pain or hamstring pain and tightness? In many cases, the butt is to blame. Follow along with some easy exercises that will help you identify and fire up your gluteus maximus. If you practice these strengthening exercises regularly, your pain and tightness will ease, and walking and running will become more efficient and beneficial.



What's new with me ...

My audiobook is now available on Amazon and Audible! This is really exciting for me. I hope you get a chance to listen.

Jesse and I had a fun day trip to Opus 40, an abandoned quarry upstate New York that was transformed into an amazing stone labyrinth. Then we visited Storm King Art Center, a magnificent 500-acre sculpture park. Needless to say, it was awesome.

I can't believe Sienna starts Pre-K tomorrow! Her summer program ended and she's been on vacation for the last week and a half. We went on adventures to playgrounds, museums, and bookstores. Click here for photos of our cute and very silly 4-year-old!




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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork


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