Saturday, February 25, 2012

Snow-shoeing for the Gluteals

It seems like I begin every post with an apology for not keeping up to date on this blog better, so here it is: sorry.

It took a little driving last weekend, but I was able to find some snow. Although it's been a disappointing winter (if you like snow that is), there is winter to be found in the White Mountains. I went snow-shoeing up East Royce Mtn- beautiful day and great views from the top.

Learned a few interesting things: For starters, to the uninitiated, tracks in deep snow that veer on and off the trail might look like they belong to a lost hiker in need of rescuing, upon closer inspection, likely belong to a deer who presumably does not need rescuing. Also, snow-shoeing down a steep powdery trail is wicked fun. And finally- my right gluteus medius isn't firing! About half way up I could feel my left butt-cheek burning as I climbed through foot deep powder, but I realized at some point, Houston- we have a problem- the right one was no where to be found.

This was distressing to me for a few reasons:

1. A weak or 'turned-off' glut is probably the single most common muscle imbalance that leads to injury for athletes, especially runners.

2. Knowing this, I always try to maintain strength there (even though it may look like I still have a classic white-guy butt, I do work at it.)

3. Despite this, it's still weak- or more in my case: 'inhibited', meaning something is happening mechanically (or not happening) that is preventing this important hip stabilizer from engaging.
Usually this relates to an issue in the ankle and/or the antagonist muscle groups, the hip flexors and adductors.

4. I have recognized this for myself and sought help, and thought I had it all worked out.

Not a good way to enter into training for Pineland which is a few short months away. Does anyone know a good sport chiropractor?

In any case, for the rest of you with uninhibited but maybe just weak gluts, I would highly recommend snow-shoeing up a mountain a few times as a great way to strengthen the back-side. Much more fun than bridges and clam-shells!