By Eirik Garnas
Big, powerful glutes are great, not just because they make you look good in a tight pair of jeans, but also, as all glute enthusiasts know, because a strong butt sets the stage for safe, heavy lifting in the gym, faster sprints, and a solid and injury-free lower back. The importance of the glutes – and the gluteus maximus (GM) in particular – becomes especially apparent when you work as a personal trainer or coach and see on a day-to-day basis how clients with various levels of glute development perform in the gym. More often than not, those with a strong set of glutes tend to display better movement patterns in the deadlift, squat, and a whole range of other exercises than those with a weak and flabby butt, and they also have lower incidence of back and knee pain. Since the GM is the largest muscle in the human body – and also at the center of the posterior chain – these observations don’t really come as a surprise. But why did the gluteals become such an important muscle group for humans, and why do so many modern people have weak and atrophied glutes? To answer these questions, we’re going to turn back the clock millions of years, to our days as foragers in Africa.