Do You Have a Dead Butt?

If you’re like one of millions of Americans, you spend a large portion of your days sitting. And the results are serious. You are killing your butt.

We sit a lot. Think about it. Wake up in the morning and sit down for coffee and breakfast. Sit in the car on the way to work. Sit while we are at work. Get home and sit, maybe do a little exercise, and then sit some more until bedtime. Our butts are suffocating and shutting down. And we are in a lot of pain because of it.

When we spend hours a day on our bottoms, our gluteal muscles literally forget how to activate properly. In a sense, it is ‘gluteal amnesia.’ When you are in a seated position, the butt muscles spend a lot of time deactivated while the hip flexors become very short, weak and tight, which is an equation for major kinesthetic disfunction.

Your butt is a powerhouse of your body. When the 3 muscles of your glutes aren’t firing properly, other areas of your body, like the hip flexors, must overcompensate. This means you’re increasing your risk for pain and injury in the lower back, hips, and knees. Yes, a lot of knee, hip and lower back pain stems from gluteal dysfunction.

Related: 5 Yoga Poses for Lower Back Pain

I had the opportunity to chat with renown bodywork expert Karden Rabin LMT—founder of Boundless, a bodywork and pain management center in the Berkshires of Massachusetts—and asked him to explain the dead butt phenomenon a little more.

“You use it or lose it, and when we talk about having gluteal amnesia, our neuromuscular relationship between the brain and the muscles of our butt is nearly erased. The consequences are you have to use other muscle groups to do nearly everything from walking to running. And while exercises can help, that’s not the only answer. If I told you my diet plan was that I was going to eat junk for 23 hours a day and then eat well for one hour, you’d think I was a crazy idiot. But when it comes to fitness, we all think that sounds completely reasonable.”

Exercise simply isn’t always enough. While it is important to exercise, one hour of daily exercise is not enough to undo a day of unmindful sitting. So, how can you combat gluteal amnesia? Here’s what Karden recommends:

“One I would suggest a standing desk. Everyone who works at a desk should have one. Two, exploring chi running and chi walking, which explores the muscles you are using to initiate movement [more on this below]. And for exercises, one of my favorites starts supine with heels up on a physioball. Lift your hips towards the ceiling, and pull the ball in towards your butt with your heels, contracting the entire rear posterior chain. Then roll back out to the starting position, really focusing on pushing with the heels and contracting the glutes.”

For those who do not know what chi walking/running is, it is a method of walking/running that focuses on moving your body forward utilizing the powerful muscles of your core, rather than hip flexors and quads. It is a way to reestablish which muscles initiate the movement, which can become out of whack as certain muscle groups become more dominant than others due to our crazy lifestyles. This readjustment can significantly reduce injury risk, as you are essentially retraining your body to move in a healthy and naturally balanced way.

And if your lower back hurts, as it does for millions of Americans, your glutes probably play a huge role. Karden states, “One of the solutions to treating low back pain is reestablishing someone’s strength and connection to their glutes.” Of course, the core is also put to sleep when you are sitting, so reactivating the core goes hand in hand with gluteal reactivation.

Our glutes are holy, and should be treated as such. Not only do we need to incorporate more smart exercises into our lifestyles, but we need to reassess and retrain our bodies how to sit smartly and mindfully. Give your glutes some love and attention. Don’t let them die!

Related:
8 Sure Signs It’s Time for a Tech Detox
7 Surprising Foods You Should Always Refrigerate
7 Beautiful Eco Water Bottles That Make Hydration Fun!

67 comments

Ruth S
Ruth Sabout a year ago

Thanks.

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natasha p
Past Member about a year ago

ty

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Telica R
Telica R1 years ago

Thanks

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill1 years ago

thanks

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mac C
mac C2 years ago

I sit at a desk to do my job, but try and mostly succeed to get up and moving during that time. And before work and afterwards, I walk a lot and stand most of the time. Thanks for the post.

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william Miller
william Miller2 years ago

thanks

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Veronica Danie
Veronica Danie2 years ago

Thank you so very much.

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Veronica Danie
Veronica Danie2 years ago

Thank you so very much.

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Veronica Danie
Veronica Danie2 years ago

Thank you so very much.

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Dennis Hall
Dennis H2 years ago

Thank you.

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