Glute sets seem to be a very insignificant exercise. Don't be fooled. These butt cheek squeezes can make or break your rehab. They actually set the tone for your "back door" strength. However, because surgery techniques and protocols frequently change, be sure to ask your doctor if you should be doing this exercise.
Your first few exercises after significant hip or knee surgery (including total knee and total hip replacement) will include this simple, yet profound exercise - and for a very good reason. Almost every one of your new exercises don't require your butt muscle to work at all! You may be wondering why... partly because the strongest muscle below your belt seems to be the most forgotten and partly because some home health physical therapists are on a pay scale that hurry's them from house to house. You may be better off hiring your own physical therapist.
For the purpose of general explanation, the glutes extend the hip. That means that this muscle pulls the leg backward at the hip. Think of getting ready to kick a foot ball or kick ball...your kicking leg "rears" backwards first taking advantage of momentum to kick the ball further. The glutes are the main player in rearing your leg backwards.
The glutes also play a large roll in helping you climb steps and getting out of a chair. If the glute muscles extend the hip, then go up steps and standing up from a chair demand hip extension from bent (or flexed position) to at least a straight leg position. Weak glutes and quads among other core muscles get this job done for you
Glute sets are very important since they stand alone as the only exercise that pays any attention to your back side while you are flat out in bed! This muscle often gets overlooked and neglected whether you are well or rehabilitating.
We don't often walk with a purposeful thrust into hip extension with each step. Given this, remember also that much of your rehab time will be spent lying down or sitting... this means that your hip may tighten in the same position as sitting; making it painful to stand up and walk for the first few steps until it 'stretches out.'
America sits often with or without surgery. Thus the psoas muscle which attaches to the lumbar spine and the femur bone shortens in the sitting position. Over time, it gets stuck in this shortened position pulling our pelvis forward and requiring more of a low back bend to stand up straight. This may lead to chronic back pain, headaches, depression, anxiety, exhaustion, hip, knee, ankle and balance disturbances...the list is endless.
Lie on your back, sit or stand (you can do these discretely anywhere!)and squeeze your butt cheeks together as tightly as you can. Pretend you are squeezing a hundred dollar bill!! There, I got you to squeeze even tighter right? Now hold that for at least 8-10 seconds. This is called an isometric contraction; where you are flexing the muscle without moving the joint. Strong glute muscles will help to balance the pull of the front side muscles with the back side muscles and this balance is very important for successful rehab.Be sure to follow any doctors orders you may have. These may include: Hip replacement precautions Knee replacement precautions Weight Bearing limitations You will also want to remember to watch for signs and symptoms of infection or DVT.
Are you convinced? Great! There's nothing to it! Start them now and the move on to even more important leg exercises.
Lie on your back and squeeze your butt cheeks together as if you were pinching a 100 dollar bill together and someone was trying to take it!!!!!!!! Sorry for the visual but in this economy, it could happen, so lock your doors!
Hold this glute set for about 8-10 seconds. Work up to 20x in a slow and controlled manner but never sacrifice quality for quantity. If you start to fall apart at 12, then stop. Quality always prevails over quantity!