Do you have a dead butt?
Seriously, do you? Technically, what we are talking about here is known as gluteal amnesia. The condition means that the muscles of a person’s rear end forgets how to do their job namely- stabilizing the pelvis. You may not know it now, but having a dead butt is actually a thing.
Why do we care about having a dead butt? The glutes, hamstrings, pelvic floor, and hip muscles all play an important role in stabilizing our pelvis. The pelvis is the foundation of our whole body if there is a lack of support, we can experience long term issues. Any weakness or misalignment at the pelvis affects our posture, our ability to walk, our digestive function, and travels up the length of the spine to affect alignment in the shoulders and neck, even the bones of the skull.
Weak glutes can cause a ripple effect!
If you sit most of the day, inactivity can cause your hip flexors to tighten and the gluteal muscles to lengthen, which leads to inefficient muscle activation. Both muscles groups need to shorten and lengthen in an opposing fashion. This function is compromised when our ROM (range of motion) is restricted. More importantly, this restriction makes the surrounding muscles work harder to stabilize the pelvis. Yeah, so what, right? Don’t I just want to look good in a bikini?
Sure. We all want to look good in a bikini, but I can assure you that you won’t care about that when you have debilitating back pain or worse, pelvic floor dysfunction. You see, our entire body works together as a unit. If you neglect one part of your body, for instance your glutes, your brain tells the smaller surrounding muscles (hip flexors and pelvic floor) to maintain stability in the pelvis at all costs. This is called synergistic dominance. The added demand on the surrounding muscles causes them to become overworked and eventually unable to function properly. This weakness begins a chain reaction all the way up the body often resulting in the person becoming weak and tense at the same time. Do you feel like you are tight but also weak? Keep reading.
If proper pelvic stability is neglected for many years, some people develop urinary incontinence, pelvic floor dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction. OMG, right? Yeah, it’s a big deal. Now, if we have gotten ourselves to this point, do we care about the bikini anymore? I hope not.
How does one get a dead butt?
You might be sitting there wondering “Okay, so maybe I need to know more about this.” It is more common than you might think and I’m here to tell you, it can be prevented AND it isn’t as hard to “fix” as you may think.
Major Causes of Dead Butt:
Sitting for long periods of time
Sitting for long periods of time can restrict the blood flow, cause glutes to lengthen and hip flexors to tighten. This can can lead to hip pain, lower backache and problems with your ankles. Pelvic balance is critical. Do you ever feel a little “off” or does your job require you to sit all day? Our glutes are not designed to bear weight for long periods of time. Spending too much time on your rear end decreases your glutes ability to stabilize the pelvis which can cause other areas in the body to be affected. You might be surprised at how often balancing the pelvis improves seemingly unrelated symptoms like headaches, foot pain, and jaw discomfort.
Tight hip flexors and weak glutes
Hip flexors are muscles that run from your lower back, through your pelvis, and across the front of your thigh. They’re responsible for moving your legs when you walk, run, and climb stairs. If the hip flexors are tight, just taking a brisk walk can trigger pain in your back, thus furthering your inactivity and compounding the problem. Tight hips (and weak glutes) can lead to inflammation of the gluteal medius tendons. The key is to work the mobility of the hip flexors and glutes so that they can properly support the pelvis and be in balance. Having hips and glutes that are both flexible and strong will help maintain healthy balance and a stable pelvis.
Targeting one muscle group only
A common characteristic I see as a teacher and trainer is students who focus on one area of the body 80% of the time. Most commonly, it is the front side of the body – Abs, Arms, Chest, Quads. The glutes, hamstrings, pelvic floor, and back muscles are the most commonly ignored. When a person dominantly trains one area of the body like this, you will see the opposing muscle group weaken and posture to be effected. In my Ashtanga days, I noticed this happen in my body. For 18 months all I did was primary series. I was obsessed with jumping through, jumping back and handstands. I wanted to float like nobody’s business! I noticed that I began to have a resting state of abs drawn in and pelvis tucked under (uddiyana bandha anyone? lol). This caused my back to round (AKA back muscles over stretched) and my hamstrings to tighten. It wasn’t until I started getting injured, having back pain, and noticing that I was way off balance that I realized I had been focusing my training on one group muscles and not ALL my muscles.
How do you avoid a dead butt?
I’m glad you asked. The answer can be found in examining our lifestyle and making a few changes that ultimately will add balance to your life.
Avoid sitting for long periods of time. If you have a job that requires this, you need to make sure to get up and use those glutes every hour!
Train the glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, and core equally to support the pelvis. Adding Pilates into your yoga practice is a great way to help maintain that equal balance. Pilates movements target the muscles that support the spine and will not only help you strengthen your body but also stay stretched so that you have better mobility.
Don’t wait until you have a dead butt! Make yourself a priority and begin a fitness routine to support your lifestyle.
Join my the BYG Method and try my newest class Resurrect Your Glutes + Core Magic! In just 30 minutes, we will target the muscles that support the pelvis as well as the core. Make sure to get yourself a heavy resistance band and enjoy the burn!
PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment and let me know if you enjoyed this blog! XO
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