‘Dormant Butt Syndrome’ is a phrase used by physiotherapists and exercise
professionals to describe the modern day problem of butt muscles that simply don’t
want to wake up.
While the thought of our derrières being a bit sleepy can be self-deprecatingly
endearing, it is important to know that our gluteal muscles play an integral part in the
health of our lower back, hips and lower extremities.
Your glute region is made up of three major muscles: gluteus medius, gluteus
minimus and gluteus maximus. Gluteus medius and minimus’ primary job is to
provide stability for the pelvis while gluteus maximus acts as the main extensor of
the hip.
These muscles, when working efficiently, allow us to walk, run, jump and balance on
one leg with ease. If any of the gluteal muscles are too tight or too weak, the
hamstrings, knee and ankle joints will compensate, resulting in injury due to
compromised movement patterns.
How do you know if your butt muscles are dormant? Well, if you spend a lot of your
day sitting on your butt, it is highly likely that your glutes will be sleepy.
If you find that your quadriceps (front of thigh) are primarily sore after performing
squats, this could be an indicator that your butt is in need of a wake up call. It is
advised that you get your squat technique analysed by an exercise professional.
The repetitive hip flexion from cycling or running can result in tight hip flexors, weak
glutes and strained hamstrings.
To test if you have efficient gluteal muscles, start standing with your eyes closed and
a hand on either butt cheek. Note whether you can stand on two feet, ideally without
squeezing your butt at all.
Then, actively squeeze both butt cheeks. You should feel equal muscle contraction
lift into either hand. Notice any difference between the strength of the contraction on
either side.
Finally, try to squeeze one butt cheek while keeping the other cheek relaxed. Repeat
on the other side. Ideally, each butt cheek should be able to contract by itself. If one
butt cheek can contract and the other doesn’t, it is advised that you work on targeted
hip extension exercises to even up the imbalance. Failure to address the issue can
result in uneven pelvic floor tone and hip dysfunction.
Wellington’s unpredictable weather can thwart the best intentions to get your butt
moving. Luckily, UP Fitness’s mission is dedicated to the health of your buns. We
take it all very seriously. Want to know more? Book your initial consultation by
getting in touch at info@upfitness.co.nz
Written by: Cat Eddy

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