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Glute Kickbacks Causing You Back Pain


When glute kickbacks work your back and not your glutes

The cable glute kickbacks are an exercise commonly used to develop or strengthen the glutes, the problem is usually people perform the exercise wrong are actually overworking their lower back. Your glute max muscle is the main muscle that performs hip extension, it functions to pull the upper leg bone backwards. Often times, especially with someone with lower back pain they are told to “use your glutes, and not your back” or to “strengthen your glutes”. In our clinic we see a lot of benign mechanical lower back pain patients that have plenty of strength in their glutes the problem is they cannot dissociate lumbar hyper-extension from hip extension. In other words, they use their lower back to do what their glute max should be doing.

Take a look at the picture above and notice:

  • Over arching of the lower back
  • Rib cage flare
  • Core dis-engaged

Overloading your lower back could cause facet syndrome

The facet joints are the joints in your spine that make your back flexible and enable you to bend and twist. Nerves exit your spinal cord just in front of these joints on their way to other parts of your body. Healthy facet joints have cartilage, which allows your vertebrae to move smoothly against each other without grinding. Each joint is lubricated with synovial fluid for additional protection against wear and tear. Facet joint syndrome is pain at the joint between two vertebrae in your spine. Facet joint syndrome can be caused by a combination of aging, pressure overload of your facet joints, and injury.

If each time you are using lower back for hip extension, instead of your glute max, these joints and muscles of your lower back are being overloaded and overworked which can lead to facet joint pain and facet syndrome.

facet joints in motion diagram

Facet joints

Glute activation exercises to use instead of glute kickbacks

  • Glute Bridge with or without band
  • Hip Airplane
  • Goblet Squat
  • Bird-Dog

Deadlifts and squats will make your glutes sore but they also predominately work the lumbar erectors and quads respectively. Most people have plenty of strength in their glutes they need to engage both their core and glutes better to eliminate lower back pain.

Behm Muscle & Joint Clinic – Chiropractor in Bellevue, NE

At Behm Muscle & Joint Clinic we strive to look at the whole picture when it comes to pain, instead of focusing on just the site of pain we utilize functional movement screens to determine how a personal is moving. We believe that “movement is medicine” if you are loading tissues in a faulty movement pattern the intervention used to correct these constant faulty loading patterns begins with utilizing functional movement screens to determine the faulty pattern. Then using our in office manual therapy and corrective exercise techniques teach the patient the proper movements to eliminate the patterns causing pain. To schedule a consultation use the schedule online tab on our website our call our clinic at 402-292-1450.

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