WORK THAT BUTT! Yes, you read that right! Work that butt that you sit on for a large portion of your day. You may wonder why you are reading this article. Well, let me tell you that you have made the right choice and that working your butt is an integral part of your health. Let me explain why!
Whether you are an avid gymmer or one who enjoys casual walks or if you dream of doing a killer workout at the gym but haven’t gotten there yet, you suffer from what’s come to be known as the ‘dead butt syndrome’! Unless you and your trainer are actively focused on isolating the glute muscles and doing specific strength training for it, your butt i.e. the glutes have been in a slumber for some time.
Your gluteal muscles i.e. the butt muscles are a complex of three major muscles- gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. The big chunky muscles are the gluteus maximus but the dead butt syndrome is caused by amnesia in the gluteus medius. If the gluteus medius forgets to fire properly while walking, running or just standing, this can lead to a myriad of joint pains, even back pain. The gluteus medius muscle helps stabilize the pelvis while you are weight-bearing – any activity you do on your feet. While this may seem not such a great task, believe me, keeping your pelvis stabilized and aligned while standing and walking is the backbone of doing these simple activities correctly. You may be walking and standing misaligned and not even know it. The first time you might encounter any discussion is when you have a back, hip, knee or foot issue and your very astute sports physio points out to you that your glutes are asleep!
Weak glutes can lead to pelvis instability causing the collapse of the knee inwards increasing the stress in the knees. This can further put a strain on your foot and arches of the foot leading to collapsed arches or over-pronation (flat foot). Eventually, this cascading effect of muscular imbalance from butt to knee to the foot can lead to anything from back pain to ankle/foot pain. You might get your feet and knees treated but unless you treat the cause- in this case, the sleeping butt- you won’t get anywhere! In the clinic when we treat sports injuries or spine problems, the glutes are the first that we assess. If the glutes are strong, any activity that you do on your feet has a strong foundation hence reducing your chances of injuries.
How to find out if you have the dead butt syndrome? Stand in front of a full-length mirror and lift one leg off the floor. If the pelvis/hip on the same side of the lifted leg drops down then you have a positive Trendelenburg test. This means that you must start working on your butt today!
So, what is the solution to the dead butt syndrome? Well, don’t sit for so long, walk around more, actively squeeze your butt muscles while standing or walking and do more exercises to target the glutes. Squats and lunges are good but they work on big muscles not really on the gluteus medius. Learn how to do a clamshell exercise correctly or use therabands/loop bands to do outer hip exercises. Remember to learn these from a trained professional such as a fitness trainer or a sports physio to avoid form mistakes. So get ready to work that butt and walk-run-play without fear!
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