There are actually two reasons for weak glutes and I can almost guarantee you are committing one or both of these mistakes, even as you read this article. These mistakes can seriously mess with your swimming, biking, and running, either by leaving power and speed on the table or by opening you up to breakdown and injury.

But to move forward you need to first know the main thing responsible for any and all movement in your body—neuromuscular pathways. Think of these pathways as the communication channels between your brain and the rest of your body, especially your glutes. It’s how your body learns new technically challenging things and becomes more efficient at doing them in the future. The more you practice any skill or movement, the more established these communication channels get, and the easier that skill or movement becomes because the brain gets better at firing that muscle in a certain way at a certain time. Think of the difference between someone learning to play the guitar and your favorite rocker just going at it onstage—like Jack White, he’s one of my favorites. Jack White’s pathways are much more established and automatic than a newbie’s.

But a key piece of information is that you have to be practicing the right movements and the right skills to embed the right efficient motor patterns. Otherwise, you’ll go years embedding ugly patterns and bad habits, becoming really practiced at things that don’t serve you. Which is where a lot of us as triathletes are. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but permanent.