The gluteus maximums, medius and minimus (bum muscles) are the largest and strongest muscles in your body yet they are often ignored. These muscles work to extend, rotate and stabilise the hip and it is the control of this extension and rotation that is very important. If your glutes are inactive for long periods then they can become the source of aches and pains that are seemingly unrelated.
A gluteal weakness can be caused by a number of factors, one of the most common is sitting down, whether at work or home. As the glutes become weaker, the body will compensate by using other muscles such as those in the lower back and quads instead. Inactive glutes can play a major role in a range of health issues including poor posture, lower back pain, knee pain, balance issues, lack of strength, hip problems, and increased likelihood of injury.
Without the control from the glutes, the leg will naturally rotate inwards which generates a lot of force through the leg muscles. If, during a squat, you find your knee pulling inwards then this could be due to weak glute muscles. This is why I put so much emphasis on good technique, you want to avoid overloading the wrong muscles or you will be prone to imbalances and injury.
It is important to include glute exercises as part of your workout routine so that you can learn to activate and strengthen them. Strong glute muscles can impact your overall body strength; your glutes support your core, help to support a range of exercises and compound movements, as well as help avoid muscle imbalances which can lead to decreased mobility.
Hip bridges, single leg balances, step ups, squats (narrow and sumo) and donkey kicks are all great for improving this important muscle group. Go work that booty!