Incorporate Glute Exercises to Reduce Lower Back Pain

In today’s world, lower back pain has emerged as a common grievance among people of all age groups. This can be caused by many things. It can be injury-related, posture or simply living a sedentary life.

Although there are multiple factors that can contribute to lower back pain, one often overlooked area of concern is the state of our glute muscles.

These powerhouse muscles, comprising the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus, play a pivotal role in stabilizing and supporting our spine and pelvis.

As mentioned previously, plenty of times it’s due to sedentary lifestyles leading to weak, underactive glutes, sometimes also even too tight and tense. The correlation between the strength of our glute muscles and the health of our lower back is undeniable. 

Before we jump into glute exercises to reduce lower back pain, let’s go over the anatomy to have an understanding of how the glutes can hurt the lower back. 

Anatomy of the Glutes

There are 3 major muscles within the glutes.

Gluteus Maximus 

This is the largest of the three gluteal muscles and is responsible for the shape of the buttocks. Its primary roles include hip extension, outward rotation, and abduction of the thigh.

Gluteus Medius 

Positioned slightly above and to the side of the gluteus maximus, its main functions are to abduct the thigh and stabilize the pelvis during walking or running.

Gluteus Minimus

This is the smallest of the three, lying beneath the gluteus medius. It works in tandem with the medius to assist in thigh abduction and pelvic stabilization.


Image from:

How Weak Glutes Affect the Lower Back

When the glutes are weak, other muscles in the lower back and hips often have to compensate for this lack of strength. This can lead to an overuse of these compensating muscles, resulting in strain and discomfort.

Specifically, weak glutes can destabilize the pelvis, forcing the muscles of the lower back to work harder to maintain an upright posture.

How Tight Glutes Glutes Affect the Lower Back

Tight gluteal muscles can pull on the sacrum (the base of the spine) and create an imbalance in the pelvis.

This can lead to a condition known as anterior pelvic tilt, where the pelvis rotates forward and downward. This tilt places excessive strain on the lumbar spine, leading to discomfort and increased susceptibility to injury.

Proper stretching and myofascial release can aid in relieving this tightness and restoring balance to the posterior chain.

Here is an example of what an Anterior Pelvic Tilt looks like:

What is Anterior Pelvic Tilt?

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Exercises to Fix Weak Glutes

We’ve now covered how weak and tight glutes can specifically cause lower back pain. Let’s now go over exercises you can incorporate to help strengthen your glutes.

Hip Thrust 

This exercise targets the Glute Maximus


  • Bench
  • Barbell (can also be done with Dumbbell or Kettlebell)

How to Perform:

  • Start by sitting on the ground with a bench behind you and a padded barbell over your hips.
  • Lean back against the bench so that your shoulder blades are near the top of it.
  • Plant your feet firmly on the ground, shoulder-width apart, and bend your knees.
  • Drive through your heels, lifting the barbell by extending your hips. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to knees at the top of the movement.
  • Lower down with control and repeat.

Sets and Reps: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.


Lateral Band Walks

This exercise targets the Glute Medius


  • Resistance band

How to Perform:

  • Place a resistance band around your legs, just above your knees.
  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, creating tension in the band.
  • Lower into a slight squat position. This is your starting position.
  • Take a step to the right with your right foot, followed by the left foot, maintaining tension in the band.
  • Take a few steps in one direction and then switch, walking the opposite way.

Sets and Reps: 3-4 sets of 10-15 steps in each direction.


Clamshell Exercise

This exercise targets the Glute Medius


  • Resistance band

How to Perform:

  • Start by lying on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Your feet should be in line with your glutes.
  • Keep your feet touching each other and use your gluteus medius to lift your top knee as high as possible without moving your pelvis or bottom leg. It will look like a clamshell opening.
  • Lower the knee back down with control, ensuring that you don’t simply let gravity do the work.
  • Keep your core engaged throughout the exercise to ensure you’re not rolling your hips back and forth.

Sets and Reps: 3-4 sets of 12-20 reps on each side.



Exercises to Fix Tight Glutes

If you want to check out an article dedicated to tight glutes, you can view that here.

Pigeon Pose

How to Perform:

  • Begin in a plank or push-up position.
  • Bring your right knee forward and place it behind your right wrist. Your right foot should be in front of your left wrist, angling it towards the left.
  • Slowly slide your left leg back, straightening the knee while lowering your hips towards the floor.
  • Ensure that your right heel is in front of your left hip.
  • Keep your hips square to the ground. If the right hip is not touching the ground, you can use a yoga block or folded towel under the hip for support.
  • Hold the position, feeling a deep stretch in the right glute. You can fold forward over your front leg to deepen the stretch.


Seated Figure-Four Stretch

How to Perform:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of you.
  • Bend your right knee and place the ankle above your left knee.
  • Flex your right foot to protect the knee.
  • For a deeper stretch, gently press down on the right knee with your hand or lean forward from the hips.
  • Feel the stretch in the right glute and hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch sides.


Foam Rolling / Myofascial Release the Glutes

How to Perform:

  • Sit on a foam roller with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  • Cross your right ankle over your left knee in a figure-four position.
  • Lean towards the right side, placing weight onto the foam roller.
  • Slowly roll back and forth, allowing the foam roller to massage and release tight spots in the right glute. Adjust your position to target different areas of the muscle.
  • Spend 1-2 minutes on each side.




Final Thoughts

A sedentary life can simply be causing your lower back pain due to inactive and underused muscles.

Performing the exercises mentioned above will make your glutes stronger and can help alleviate the tension in your lower back if this is the issue.

Although not all lower back issues are the same, in today’s society where we sit too much and are as inactive as we are, you will be surprised that inactive glutes cause so many issues.

Even for those who lift, exercises like Squats sometimes are just not enough.


Photos by: Mikhail Nilov

Solaray Vitamin D3 + K2 Review

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and this is not medical advice. The information provided in this review is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Before starting any supplement, it is imperative to consult with your physician or other qualified health provider to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for your individual circumstances. Always seek the advice of a medical professional with any questions you may have regarding a potential supplement or its possible effects on your health.

Vitamins are a bit portion of any person who tries to be healthy. Plenty of people take multivitamins and just call it a day. Others look into things they’re more predisposed to be nutrient deficient in and supplement for that (this is my preferred way as well)

Among vitamins, Vitamin D has been one of the biggest ones in recent times due to the COVID.

This supplement though has Vitamin D3 and K2. This stands out not just for their individual benefits but, notably, for their combined potency. Solaray’s Vitamin D3 + K2 supplement captures this dynamic duo, promising numerous health benefits. In this review, we delve into what this product brings to the table, ensuring you have a comprehensive understanding before you decide to add it to your daily regimen.

Solaray Vitamin D3 + K2 Review

A fantastic Vitamin D3 supplement with much-needed k2. You can't go wrong with this tiny daily supplement to help bring up your D3 levels in an optimal way.

What is Solaray Vitamin D3 + K2?

Solaray’s formulation of Vitamin D3 + K2 is more than just a mere dietary supplement. It’s a robust combination designed specifically for those aiming to elevate their health game. These vitamins, individually significant, join forces in this product, promising enhanced health benefits, especially in domains like bone health and cardiovascular well-being.

Nutrition Facts (Rating: 5/5)

Each Solaray Vitamin D3 + K2 capsule is designed, to ensure that you receive an optimal daily dosage of both vitamins. The precision in formulation ensures that consumers obtain maximum benefits without any adverse effects. It also includes calcium and phosphorus as well which are important when consuming Vitamin D. Here are the nutrition facts:

Vitamin D-3 125 mcg – 5000IU
Calcium 110mg
Phosphorus 85mg
Vitamin K-2 50 mcg

Solaray Vitamin D3 + K2 Review Nutrition Facts

Serving Size

The serving size for this product is 1 VegCap.

Pill Size (Rating: 5/5)

No one likes swallowing horse pills. Thankfully, Solaray’s Vitamin D3 + K2 capsules are crafted to keep user convenience at the forefront. Their petite size ensures easy consumption, making daily supplementation fuss-free. The pill is close to 2cm. 

Solary Vitamin D3 + K2 Review Pill Size

Effectiveness: Not Just Another Supplement (Rating: 5/5)

When I went to get blood work done last year, my Vitamin D levels were at 23 ng/mL. Which depending on who you ask is deficient (or very close to it). I personally found Vitamin D previously used to cause me headaches. However, combining it with Magnesium has helped with the headaches specifically. (This is regardless of brand) 

Considering this, I wanted a lower dose of vitamin D that still provided an adequate amount to raise values. Considering this was 5000IU, I felt like it was perfect.

I’ve been taking this product for about 3-4 months, I checked my blood work again and my Vitamin D levels were at 66.2 ng/mL. Which is fantastic.

My doctor even told me she hadn’t seen someone with that high vitamin D levels. Most people are deficient. I truly enjoy this product because it is effective in raising your Vitamin D levels but also doesn’t have a crazy amount to cause side effects. The proper dosage of Vitamin K-2 as well, makes it a perfect product. 

Let’s also go over some of the reasons why Vitamin D and K2 are important and why combining them is beneficial. 

Vitamin D: The Sunshine Protagonist

 Vitamin D is synthesized by our skin upon exposure to sunlight. Its myriad benefits are crucial for holistic health. However, you can also get it from various foods and supplements (like this)

Robust Bones and Teeth

Vitamin D is instrumental in aiding calcium absorption in the intestines, a process vital for healthy bones and teeth.

Support Immunity

This vitamin fortifies the immune system, enhancing its ability to ward off pathogens. (It’s noteworthy that this was a sought-after product during the COVID pandemic due to its immune-boosting properties.)

Elevation of Mood and Mental Fortitude

Emerging research highlights the correlation between Vitamin D levels and mental health, particularly in mood regulation and depression prevention.

Diabetes Management Supporter

Preliminary research suggests Vitamin D might have a role in insulin regulation, thus assisting in diabetes management.

Vitamin K2: The Unsung Hero

While it may often be overshadowed by its vitamin counterparts, Vitamin K2 is invaluable:

Bone Health Guardian

Vitamin K2 is vital for activating proteins involved in bone formation, harmonizing with Vitamin D’s role.

Heart’s Protector 

K2 plays a preventive role, deterring calcium deposits in arteries, thereby safeguarding against cardiovascular diseases. 

Blood Clotting Custodian

Essential for synthesizing certain proteins, Vitamin K2 is crucial for mediating blood clotting.

D3 + K2: The Perfect Harmony

When Vitamin D3 ensures robust calcium absorption, K2 ensures this calcium is directed correctly to bones and teeth. This harmonious interaction ensures a reduced risk of arterial calcification, emphasizing the synergy’s significance in overall health.

Solary Vitamin D3 + K2 Review Warning

Price and Value Proposition (Rating: 4.5/5)

Priced at $28.99 for 120 capsules, Solaray strikes a balance between cost and quality. Considering the dual benefits, scientific formulation, and the sheer number of capsules, this product is a value-for-money proposition. Although there might be cheaper alternatives, the synergistic benefits of Vitamin D3 and K2 in this product merit its price.

Solaray Vitamin D3 + K2 Review Final Thoughts (Rating: 4.87/5)

Solaray Vitamin D3 + K2 is a testament to meticulous formulation, offering a blend of two potent vitamins. Vitamin K2 is often overlooked but is an extremely important vitamin to be taking when taking vitamin D3. Its comprehensive design ensures ease of intake, maximum absorption, and tangible health benefits. As a top-tier dietary supplement, it’s a formidable player in the market, deserving serious consideration for those keen on amplifying their health.

If you’re in need of taking Vitamin D3 (and K2) this is the supplement to get. 

Where to Buy

You can buy this product on Amazon or their website

All Amazon links are affiliate links. 


solaray Vitamin D3 + K2 Review Score



The Importance of Sleep and How to Optimize It

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Everything on this site is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Please discuss this with your doctor before taking any supplements or taking any advice.

In an age where every second counts, sleep often takes a back seat. We’re pulled into late-night work marathons, lured by the glow of screens, and the thrill of night-outs with loved ones. It’s exhilarating, isn’t it? What if I told you that maximizing your potential was tied directly to optimizing your sleep? Delve with me into the power of rest, and discover the transformative effects it can have on your life. Let’s unveil the science of sleep, and learn how to harness it for unparalleled results and improve your emotional, mental, and physical health.

Why Sleep Is Important

Sleep is an absolute necessity in our lives. Besides being essential to our lives, getting enough sleep is important for many other aspects of your life that you may not have known.

How Sleep Improves Recovery

Sleep and recovery go hand in hand. If you’re an athlete, you may use many tools to help you recover. You can foam rollers, get massages, stretch a ton, take ice baths, and go into saunas. All of which are great. However, none of them triumph sleep.

When you sleep you go through different cycles and each cycle has a different function.

Sleep Cycles

  • Wake / Non-Rem Sleep 1 
  • Light / Non-Rem Sleep 2
  • Deep Sleep / Non-Rem Sleep 3
  • REM Sleep (Rapid Eye Movement)

Wake / Non-Rem Sleep 1

This is the time you’re in bed but still awake. You’re getting ready to doze off.

Light  / Non-Rem Sleep 2

This is when you’re really starting to fall asleep. Your muscles start to relax a bit more and your body is slowing down a bit. Your heart rate starts to decrease, your body temperature drops and your respiratory rate slows too.

Deep Sleep  / Non-Rem Sleep 3 

This is one of the most important cycles of sleep. Deep sleep is truly where some of the magic comes and the lack of can leave you feeling unrested and not having quality sleep.

During deep sleep, a hormone called HGH (human growth hormone) gets released into your body. HGH specifically comes from the pituitary gland. It’s important in adolescence to help you grow and it’s important as an athlete to help you build muscle. As you get older though, HGH tends to decline. Lack of HGH can also lead to other issues like lack of energy, cardiovascular issues, and mental health issues. It’s very important to keep your HGH levels adequate to keep these issues in check and to optimize your growth in general.

As well, during deep sleep blood flow increases to your muscles. You want more blood flow to your muscles and other areas of your body to help speed up recovery overall.

You should ideally be getting around 1-3 hours of deep sleep. Anything less than 1 hour (consistently) can cause you issues and can cause you to overall feel bad. Having 2-4 nights of less than 1 hour of deep sleep isn’t too bad, but your goal should be for 1+ hour(s).

REM Sleep (Rapid Eye Movement)

Now the famous REM sleep. So in REM sleep, things start to change up a bit. Now, your heart rate increases slightly and so does your respiratory rate. During REM sleep, you’re having vivid dreams as well. It helps with overall brain development and emotional processing.

Although all forms of sleep have their benefits, REM sleep is often mistaken as being the most beneficial (again it does have its benefits and is crucial). Deep sleep is one that doesn’t get as much attention yet has the most overall benefits. 

improve sleep

Overall Benefits of Sleep

  • The best form of recovery – whether it be to recover from working out or recovering from a cold, is the ultimate source of recovery.
  • Helps increase muscle mass
  • Can increase testosterone and keep your hormones in check
  • Helps with brain health and working out emotions too

Factors that Detriment Your Sleep

We went over why sleep is important. I think it’s safe to say that if you’re not already, you should be getting an adequate amount of sleep. 

So if you’re not getting enough sleep,  what factors can have a negative impact on your sleep?


Alcohol has a major impact on your sleep. You may say to yourself, “hey, alcohol actually makes me sleep faster! Also I barely wake up when I drink”. That may be true and that’s true for a lot of people. However, the quality of your sleep is extremely hindered. 

During the first half of the night after drinking your body actually tends to have a deeper level of deep sleep and a shorter amount of REM sleep. However, there is a rebound effect that usually occurs which then you get deeper REM sleep (as your body is trying to make up for lack thereof) and you will also have lighter sleep and will tend to usually wake up a lot more overall. Even though deep sleep may be deeper, usually you’re not getting the same amount. 

Eating Too Close to Bedtime

When you eat food, especially carb-rich food, your body will start to break down which in turn raises your blood sugar levels and then releases insulin. During this process, if you’re trying to sleep it can start to mess with your circadian rhythm. Also, the food you eat can cause reflux which may wake you up as well.

Too Much Blue light

Blue light comes from devices such as your computer, phone, TV, or other digital screens. 

Exposure to blue light affects your circadian rhythm as well and throws it out of whack. This can cause you to wake up more when you’re sleeping or you might find it harder to sleep in general. 

I personally use Flux on my computer to help limit blue screen light from my computer. Most phones have an option to limit blue light as well.


Stress can also make it difficult for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Limiting stress is always ideal. You can do this by obviously eliminating the stressful factors in your life or you can pick up other activities to help with stress like meditation, exercising, or picking up a new hobby.


How To Track Your Sleep

There are many ways to track your sleep. You can do this with wearable devices that usually come with a companion app to track your sleep.

I’ll go over the devices I use and other devices out there and then list some of the apps you can use to track your sleep in more detail.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is one of the best products to own if you already own an iPhone and are part of the Apple ecosystem.

Apple’s watch can track the following when you sleep:

  • Awake Time
  • REM
  • Core
  • Deep

For each of these categories, it will track how much time you have for each category.

Besides your actual sleep metrics, it will also track:

  • Respiratory rate
  • Heart Rate
  • Blood Oxygen

Overall, it’s a fantastic device that you can get plenty of benefits from. It’s my personal choice of a sleep tracker with the Apple Health app.

You can track your sleep via the Health app or other third-party apps.

Oura Ring

I want to first state, I never used the Oura ring. However, I’ve heard many other people I trust rave about it and wouldn’t mind recommending it to someone.

Overall, it seems to be a fairly accurate device that gives similar metrics as an Apple Watch.

iwatch sleep

How To Improve Your Sleep

The first thing you can do to improve your sleep is to limit all the factors that can potentially be affecting your sleep. 

Let’s say you have limited as much as possible the factors though, how else can you improve sleep?

Improving your Circadian Rhythm

First, before we dive into improving the circadian rhythm, let’s talk about what it is.

Your circadian rhythm is your body’s 24-hour clock that regulates sleep/wake cycles. 

I mentioned before how some blue light and eating too much before bed can affect your circadian rhythm. So let’s say you eliminated those 2, how else can you improve your circadian rhythm?

More Sunlight in the Morning

Sunlight in the morning ‘resets’ your body’s internal clock. Exposure to direct sunlight (meaning being outside and facing the sun but not looking at it directly) for 5-10 minutes can have an amazing effect on your body’s internal clock. It also helps hormonal production to help you fall asleep later in the day.

Limit Caffeine to Just the Morning

When you ingest caffeine, it blocks your adenosine receptor which causes you to not feel tired. The more you ingest, the more this receptor gets blocked and it continuously affects your circadian rhythm. If you do drink coffee, try to limit it to just the morning and not far into the afternoon/evening.

Go to Bed and Wake Up at the Same Time Everyday

Staying on a normal sleep schedule is important. If you’re consistently changing sleeping routines, it will have an effect on your circadian rhythm. You’ll find sticking with a normal sleep schedule will lead to overall better sleep.

Sleep in a Cool Room

Sleeping in a cool room has been proven to help you sleep. Your body naturally cools down to sleep. A cool room signals your body to sleep and helps your body cool down to sleep. Although, I would say sleep at whatever you are most comfortable with. An ideal temperature to sleep in should be around 60F – 68F (18.3C ) degrees

How you go about getting your room cool can vary. You can use an AC, a fan, or even a cooling mattress. Whatever the method may be, sleeping in a cool room will benefit you. 

Remove All Light Sources

Lights in your bedroom can easily disturb your sleep. It can either keep you from sleeping in general or easily wake you up in the middle of the night. 

Remove Stressors From Your Bedroom

I personally have a computer in my bedroom and it doesn’t bother me to have any work-related items in my bedroom. However, this isn’t the case for everyone. Making your bedroom just a place for sleep can be extremely beneficial for you. Try to separate all stressors or non-bedroom items into another room.

Supplements to Improve Sleep

Once you have all your life factors set to help improve your sleep, your next source is supplementation.

Supplements (I’ve found at least) to be one of the biggest factors in contributing to improved sleep even when following healthier sleeping habits.

Here is my supplementation list:

Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium Glycinate has been the most impactful supplement that’s helped my sleep. 

Anecdotally, it helps me fall asleep faster as well. I’ve had more vivid dreams and overall deeper sleep. I don’t wake up groggy or too tired either.

Magnesium glycinate gets its name because it’s combined with an amino acid called Glycine. 

Glycine increases serotonin levels in your body which helps you sleep.

Also, taking extra magnesium is usually never a bad thing. It’s severely lacking in a SAD (Standard American Diet). Magnesium Glycinate is also well tolerated and doesn’t cause as many gastro-related issues as other forms of magnesium.

I personally take around 200mg ~1-2hrs before I go to sleep. 

My preferred supplement is the one from Pure Encapsulations.

You can see my review here.


If you read the above section, then you already know how glycine can improve sleep. Taking extra glycine will most likely not have any negative effect on you. I take the recommended dose that’s on the bottle.

My preferred supplement is the one from Pure Encapsulations.


L-theanine is an amino acid that is found in tea leaves.

It has many benefits that can help with sleep such as reducing stress and enhancing relaxation. It does this by increasing alpha brain waves. 

Relaxation is key for a good night’s sleep, and L-Theanine is great for that. It can also potentially help with some anxiety as well.

Here is my preferred supplement from Integrative Therapeutics

Chamomile / Apigenin

This supplement also helps prompt relaxation due to the binding of benzodiazepine sites on GABA receptors in the brain. Apigenin can also help reduce inflammation as well which can help with better sleep. 

Final Thoughts

Sleep is an absolutely underrated source of recovery. It is the time you grow and heal physically and emotionally. 

In our day in age, it’s very easy to get bad sleep. Whether it be due to our “always grind” lifestyle or always being surrounded by our phones and not having adequate circadian rhythm health.

Improving your sleep will improve your health, recovery, and longevity and will lead you to better results overall in life. 

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