Glute imbalances are an extremely common – much an ext common than you’d imagine. The end of all of the email inquiries I obtain from my readers pertaining to the glutes, the topic of imbalances comes up the many often. If you comb the web, you won’t uncover much an excellent material on this topic. In fact, a Google find of the hatchet “glute imbalance” succumbed several links on the front page to subject from several of the most well-known strength & conditioning court – however no substantial answers could be found. The reason why stamin & conditioning experts shy away from this object is because the price is complicated. In this post I will very first discuss the reasons why girlfriend may have a gluteal imbalance, and then I’ll talk about potential solutions.

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Causes of Gluteal Imbalances

1. Asymmetrical Human-Nature

By nature, we are asymmetrical beings. Ours anatomy itself have the right to be asymmetrical, for instance right to left pelvic and also hip asymmetries and also leg length inequalities are common. However, of perhaps better importance is the our everyday movement is markedly asymmetrical in nature. We tend to shift to one side as soon as standing for an extensive periods, and we construct comfortable, asymmetrical trends for common daily tasks.


In sports, it’s herbal to rely predominantly on one side during a particular pattern. For example, as soon as we kick, most right-handed people will plant turn off of your left leg and also kick with their appropriate leg. Because that this reason, most right-handed individuals are actually more stable on your left leg and also therefore are initially much better on their left leg contrasted to their right leg once learning solitary leg exercises. In rotational sports, many athletes swing or litter from the very same side, which provides the behind glute come a lot greater degree than the former glute. The comes as no surprised then the one glute or region of the glute might be more powerful and an ext coordinated than the other.

Therefore, non-significant gluteal discrepancies should not necessarily be believed of as dysfunctional, they can just be a natural an effect of life. Far-ranging imbalances of about 15% or more, however, must be actively targeted because that correction.


2. Inactivity

When considering the human being body, we understand that part muscles are more prone to inhibition than others, and the glutes are among these “easily-inhibited” muscles. Several years ago, physics therapists such together Vladimir Janda noticed the the glutes are fairly prone to inhibition, and in the last decade stamin coaches for skilled teams began to notice that their athletes’ glutes were no functioning optimally.


There space a few reasons why the glutes might shut down. Neural and also mechanical inhibition including opposing muscles deserve to interfere with gluteal activation. Because that example, tight or shortened hip flexors may cause what’s to be coined “reciprocal inhibition” the the gluteals. Over there may also be inhibitory consequences to extreme sitting, as compression slows down vascular function and interferes v nerve function. We’ll learn listed below that pains inhibits muscle contractility and is a major player in glute inhibition. Moreover, gluteal inhibition can negatively affect posture, and poor posture can additional inhibit the glutes, thereby creating a downward spiral in gluteal function.

However, more than likely the best reason why the glutes shut down is as result of inactivity. If friend fail to repetitively activate a muscle, and you fail to frequently activate a muscle to high levels of capacity, it will inevitably quit working properly.

If you examine electromyography (EMG), you find out that plenty of muscles gain highly activated from common, day-to-day movements. For example, the quads gain highly set off every time you stand up from a chair, choose a crate up from turn off the ground, or climb stairs. The erectors are very activated when bending over to relocate furniture or do yard work. The triceps receive enough stimulation as soon as posting up to gain up native a prone position or to push open a hefty door. The calves are highly activated as soon as climbing stairs, and also the abdominals are extremely activated when sitting up from a lied position.

However, the gluteus maximus stops working to achieve high levels of activation throughout each that the abovementioned everyday movements. In fact, the nervous mechanism only activates the glutes to approximately 10% of best capacity during the sit-to-stand, particularly in the manner in which most sedentary people rise indigenous a chair, and also gluteus maximus activation is even less throughout gait at typical walking speeds. Only heavy or explosive motion such together squatting, deadlifting, lunging, hip thrusting, jumping, running, and swinging very activate the gluteus maximus. The difficulty is the most world fail to perform any kind of of these tasks on a regular basis in the contemporary world.


If us were to study the muscle density completed via maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) the 100 sedentary individuals, that is most likely that 95 of castle would have the ability to produce significant tension in your quadriceps, calves, abdominals, and triceps musculature, to surname a few. However, perhaps only 33 that these individuals would be able to achieve high levels of tension in your gluteus maximus. This is why stamin coaches and physical therapists alike have actually gravitated toward prescribing simple, low-load glute-activation drills to their athletes and also patients. They are seeking to against the natural propensity of the glutes to shut-down and to teach the glutes come fire fast and also hard once needed during functional movement.

3. Pain, prior Injury, and also Structural Issues

I mentioned above that pain is a vast inhibitor the the gluteus maximus. This is a huge deal. Research reflects that the glutes can end up being inhibited v just about any lower body or spinal injury. How countless of you readers have stubbed your toe? This inhibits the glutes. How numerous of you have sprained an ankle? Glute inhibition. Hurt her knee or your hip? traction a groin or hammy? dropped on her tailbone? experienced sciatica? Tweaked your low back? all of these injuries diminish glute activation. Is this a poor thing?


Not exactly. The glutes are major propulsion muscles. Castle produce powerful locomotion. Inhibiting the glutes will cause an individual to slow down for this reason they can heal. Back in the day, you would certainly not have survived long if friend were compelled to hobble roughly for the rest of your life because of injury. Therefore from one evolutionary survival standpoint, this is a wise strategy.

The trouble is the the glutes nothing necessarily turn earlier on automatically. They need to be reactivated, restrengthened, and recoordinated back into every day movement and activity. Just how many civilization sprain their ankle, and also upon healing, execute glute activation drills and utilize a progressive strategy to reintegrate your glute right into functional, high-force, and high-velocity movement? The overwhelming majority do not.

Following injury, many folks just keep top top keepin’ on, and their motion patterns suffer. Fairly than experiencing appropriate glute function during movement, they rely on various other muscles to get the task done. This is why you check out pelvises dropping come the side and knees collapsing inward throughout gait, backs rounding over during lifting tasks, and also an over-reliance on the hamstrings because that hip extension. The human body is resilient and also will discover a means to prevail, and also people have the right to become an extremely fit despite using the wrong muscles or displaying faulty activity patterns. Following time you walk for very early morning drive, pay fist to the joggers. You’ll notification that not numerous of them appear athletic or possess an excellent running posture. Sadly, many look choose they’re “speed-limping.” yet even advanced athletes regularly have faulty glute function. One study analyzing strongmen verified that the finest heavily included the glutes throughout lifting tasks, vice versa, the less-skilled relied mostly on the ago musculature.

Finally, us must take into consideration morphological structural issues that could add to reduced glute function. Come list some examples, stop say the you have lost the herbal arch in your right foot, or you have bone spurs in best hip, or you have actually scoliosis, or friend have extreme anterior pelvic tilt, or you damaged the lateral meniscus in your best knee. Every of these could create glute inhibition. To confuse matters, few of these could have been led to by glute inhibition (remember the bottom spiral I referred to earlier?). For this reason structural alters can reason or be caused by gluteal inhibition.


But nothing be alarm – these problems don’t guarantee glute dysfunction. One athlete can possess any one of these maladies and yet still possess sound-functioning glutes. In fact, perhaps the ideal pound-for-pound deadlifter in powerlifting background had serious scoliosis, and a bulk of sprinters have actually “excessive” anterior pelvic tilt.

Solutions for Restoring Gluteal Imbalance

As we detailed above, glute imbalances can be brought about by dysfunction carried upon by pains or inactivity and also are as such a “dysfunctional consequence.” However, lock can additionally be caused by everyday life and also sports and are as such a “functional consequence.”


I execute not recognize why your glutes room imbalanced. Stop say the we had actually a consultation and also I learned your entire athletic and injury history – at finest I could only speculate regarding why you have a glute imbalance. Maybe once you were in high college you hurt your left knee, which brought about your left glute come shut-down, and also since you never rehabilitated properly, her body memorized sub-optimal motion patterns and has to be relying on faulty motor manage ever since. Probably in your twenties friend quit playing sports and also quit going come the gym and pretty much sat on the couch for 3 years. Throughout this time, maybe you rarely provided your glutes, and also the only times girlfriend did anything that supplied the glutes come any comprehensive degree, you relied mostly on the left leg, resulting in the right glute come shut under while maintaining the left strong. Perhaps your favorite sports was extremely asymmetrical and also you swung a society or threw right handed, increase your ideal glute come a much greater level than her left.

Whatever the situation is, it normally doesn’t issue as the solution is regularly the same. Throughout the “re-education” process, it’s necessary to have appropriate perspective. You might have been walking roughly with a gluteal imbalance for over a decade, therefore it’s going come take some time come rewire your motor circuitry. If it takes a couple of months for the trouble to normalize, so it is in it. Each session you will do it be a small bit closer to her goal so be patient. Likewise recall that we desire to combine the “neuromuscular” unit. Yes a neural and muscular ingredient to fixing the issue. Right now your dysfunctional glute is weak and also doesn’t want to activate. You require to gain it easily-excitable v neural reeducation, and then girlfriend can focus on enhancing strength and also hypertrophy.

Wait because that Pain to Subside

When pains exists during movement, the mind is trying come shut down the glutes, for this reason this is no a good time to shot to be teaching the glutes “motor learning.” There merely will not be much learning going ~ above in the gluteal motor. Therefore wait till pain subsides to start attempting to solve the dysfunctional glute.

Assuming pains is gone, there are six strategies the you may pick to employ. Depending upon your situation, you may want to stick to simply some of the strategies, or you may employ all six simultaneously. The all relies on your situation. Here are the six strategies:

1. Isometric Contractions for the Weaker Glute

The very first thing you desire to do in stimulate to try to settle a gluteal imbalance is execute a bunch the extra work-related for the weaker glute. What you have to do is create a solid mind-muscle connection (MMC) v the dysfunctional glute. One great way the going around this is to perform isometric contractions. Below is a an excellent series to carry out on a day-to-day basis:

10 set of 3-second maximum contractions v the weaker glute indigenous a standing position10 sets of 3-second best contractions through the weaker glute native a sit position10 to adjust of 3-second maximum contractions through the weaker glute from a at risk position

* rest 5 seconds in between isoholds


You can do this isometrics all over as castle don’t need equipment. In fact, you can also do castle while you’re in ~ work. The unlikely the anybody will notice, uneven the person is staring best at her butt. Nothing be afraid to execute these multiple times throughout the day.

2. Low-Load Dynamic Drills for the Weaker Glute

In enhancement to the isometric contractions, you want to perform a selection of dynamic movements for the weaker glute so you target every the glute fibers with their multiple roles. The goal is to pick very simple exercises that aren’t challenging. This way, you have the right to steer the neural flow to the gluteus maximus and also prevent the from flow excessively come the hamstrings or other synergists. You perform not desire to go to failure when performing to adjust of these exercises. 5 to seven days every week, you desire to execute a 5-10-minute motor-learning regime for the weaker glute consist of of:

2 set of 10-20 reps of next lying abductions with the weaker leg2 sets of 10-20 reps of side lying clams with the weaker leg2 to adjust of 10-20 reps of quadruped hip extensions with the weaker leg2 sets of 10-20 reps of solitary leg glute bridges through the weaker leg

* rest 30 seconds between sets

* execute the exercises in circuit fashion; very first the abduction, then the clam, climate the quadruped, then the bridge, climate repeat

* nothing do any kind of of these drills because that the stronger leg/glute


Remember, the emphasis is on high quality muscle contractions. You want to feel these motions as lot as feasible in the gluteus maximus of the dysfunctional side. Tinker approximately with your kind and figure out exactly how to maximize gluteal recruitment during these movements. Placing for best gluteal recruitment different from human being to person so i can’t provide you the precise recipe right here – you need to number it out for your body. Don’t include load in the kind of bands or fish eye weights, don’t carry out more difficult variations, and don’t perform more than 20 repetitions. You’re not going for progressive overload – she aiming because that gluteal reeducation.

3. Low-to-Medium-Load symmetrical Bilateral Movements

You don’t need to totally shy far from squatting, deadlifting, i know good thrusting, or back extensions. Simply don’t worry around load because that a while and instead emphasis on symmetry movement and feeling the glute muscles work equally on each side. You’re walk to it is in blending her newfound raised glute activation into your engine programs for each movement, therefore this is vital element to your success.

In fact, strengthening the glute alone will certainly not fix your issue. Your neural circuitry has actually been wired because that asymmetrical motion patterns and also muscle recruitment. It has built a “motor engram,” or a memorized movement pattern, and also you’re trying come rewire the circuitry. You need to find out to activate the weaker glute, you need it to it is in stronger, and also you require to develop up that is hypertrophy, and also you’ll do this by hammering the weaker side. However this alone will certainly not provide a complete fix.

You still require to find out to carry out bilateral motions properly. Every repetition of squats, deadlifts, i know good thrusts, and back extensions you do with perfect the opposite while feeling the weaker glute activate correctly is a PLUS. Every repeat of squats and deadlifts you perform that is no symmetrical in movement and also activation is a MINUS. It’s as much as you to find out your loading threshold and also stick to lots that enable for ideal motor programming. For some, this amounts to bodyweight loading, and also for others, 70% the 1RM could be okay. However, even if your imbalance is no that significant, you absolutely want come shy far from anything above 90% the 1RM for at the very least a month.


When girlfriend go too heavy, her body WILL discover the course of least resistance in stimulate to gain the job done. Among your glutes is weaker than the other and also if you press the envelope her body will work about it by using other muscles and contorting the human body (i.e.: moving to one side, rotating at the hips). So you re welcome remember: an excellent reps take it you forward; poor reps take it you backward and also cause stagnation!

Gradually boost loading over the food of numerous months. If you ramp up also soon, girlfriend won’t development as you’ll just confuse the weaker glute and prevent reintegration. You may wish to begin off with less complicated variations such as goblet squats and RDLs. Take her time and be patient.

4. Bilateral motions with Resistance Bands about the Knees, Ankles, or Feet

Bodyweight squatting and also bridging patterns v resistance bands approximately the knees are very effective because that gluteal reeducation and should it is in performed during warm-ups. In addition, various species of tape walks can and also should be performed. These have various names, such together x-band walks, sumo walks, and monster walks. Ns recommend placing bands roughly the mid-feet and also performing both crouched and also upright wade movements. I also recommend performing this walks both forward and also backward and also from next to side. Just pick a couple of these tape exercises each session and also perform 2 sets of each throughout the warm-up. Again, don’t go for PR’s and also progressive overload, go for activation. Think QUALITY, not QUANTITY.


5. Single foot Movements and also Core stability Drills

Here’s the deal. You don’t want your solid leg to acquire weaker, and also you don’t want the glutes, hamstrings, adductors, and also quads on the great leg to shrivel up. What you perform want is because that the glute top top the weaker next to catch up as conveniently as possible so the matches the of the stronger side. Performing low-to-medium fill bilateral movements will prevent the hip and thigh muscles on the dominant side from experiencing far-ranging atrophy, and also you won’t shed appreciable amounts of toughness either. Therefore let that give you peace of mind.

However, you have the right to still execute some traditional solitary leg occupational (think Bulgarian separation squats, step ups, turning back lunges, solitary leg RDLs, single leg i know well thrusts, and single leg ago extensions) or main point stability work-related (think Pallof presses, side planks, and also band i know well rotations) v two caveats:

Don’t go too hefty to the suggest where you no much longer feel the weaker glute law the brunt the the work. If friend can’t achieve this v bodyweight loading, climate don’t execute them – lock too advanced for you and will protect against you indigenous progressing. Assuming you carry out feel these activities working the weaker glute properly, then you can indeed combine them right into your programming, yet the collection stops the second type breaks under or the 2nd you stop feeling the glute law the work.Do twice the volume for the weaker side compared to the stronger side. If you execute 10 reps because that the weaker side, stick to 5 reps because that the more powerful side. This will likewise prevent strength and also hypertrophy losses because that the dominant side while allowing the weaker glute to catch up.


If friend play an asymmetrical sport that’s in season, I advise you to no do any type of work because that the leading side together it’s obtaining plenty that work throughout the sport and practices themselves.

6. Self-Myofascial relax (SMR) and Static and also Dynamic Stretches

It is really important for your hip mobility to be symmetrical. You need to test your hip flexibility for each leg in all possible directions. You want to test your hip flexion, i know good extension, hip abduction, i know good adduction, hip internal rotation, and hip outside rotation versatility for each hip. If you have a significant asymmetry in any of the motions, then you must attempt to regain balance as conveniently as possible. When the strengthening activities can help with this goal, part SMR and stretching is synergistic and will expedite the process. Regularly you will find that i know well rotation imbalances exist (external or internal). If so, girlfriend will benefit from performing a combination of foam rolling, revolution stretches, and dynamic follow me to help achieve balanced flexibility. Stick come 5 minute of SMR and flexibility occupational for the influenced side.


Automaticity is the Goal

Your goal is to ultimately reach automaticity and also quit having to “think glutes” every day long. Sure, any great lifter has to remind the or herself to squeeze out the glutes ~ above maximal hip extension exercises such as once locking out a deadlift. Yet both of her glutes need to fire automatically when you extend the i know well (or conduct any kind of other activity that depends on the glutes). In ~ six-months that gluteal reeducation, you should be able to balance the end your strength and movement trends – hopefully also quicker.

You ultimately want to have the ability to perform high-load activities such as maximal squats and also deadlifts and also explosive movements such as jump squats, power cleans, kettlebell swings, plyos, and also sprints, v symmetrical and properly functioning gluteals. As you development in your gluteal reeducation you will start to ramp increase in loading and perform more difficult exercises. Together this occurs, friend will start to wean yourself off of isometric contractions and also low-load glute activation drills. For less-serious cases of glute imbalances, this procedure might take 4 weeks. For an ext serious glute imbalances, the process could take 3-6 months. It’s impossible to tell. Simply be consistent and also diligent and also you should have the ability to restore suitable function.



I hope that this short article has melted some irradiate on gluteal imbalances and provided you with options to your problem. In summary:

Don’t train in painPerform many extra work for the weaker glute in the form of isometric and low-load dynamic glute activation drillsPerform lighter bilateral movements such as squats and deadlifts through perfect symmetryUtilize resistance bands placed roughly the feet, ankles, or knee to perform squats, bridges, and also various walking movementsPerform extra volume for the weaker leg once busting out solitary leg and also core stability work such as lunges, solitary leg RDLs, next planks and Pallof presses, andPerform SMR and also flexibility work-related if you have actually hip versatility imbalances.

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Always think high quality over quantity, and also focus intensively on reprogramming the weaker glute and developing a suitable MMC. In time, friend should be able to solve your problem, reach automaticity, and also possess a well balanced booty.