The terms “dead butt syndrome” or “gluteus amnesia” may be new but many of us chiropractors have long been aware of the link between neglected weak buttock muscles and lower back pain. Weak glute muscles are also a contributing factor in knee pain, hip pain, hamstring strains, poor posture, balance problems and being prone to injuries. What’s more alarming is that most of us aren’t even aware that our glutes, which are some of our most important pelvic stabilising muscles, are not as strong as they should be.
Risk factors for inefficiently activating gluteal muscles include a sedentary lifestyle, being overweight or pregnant. However even those who may run or cycle a lot are not immune to such issues as these type of exercises tend to over use the already more dominant hip flexors and quad muscles at the front of the pelvis. According to New Zealand Chiropractic Association’s spokesperson and chiropractor, Cassandra Fairest, it’s fairly easy to spot ‘dead buttock’ muscles. “Flat, saggy behinds are likely suffering from a case of gluteus amnesia. While perky butts are healthy, although occasionally these people are just ‘genetically blessed’” she said in a recent report for stuff.co.nz.
As Roz wrote in a previous post, even if you commit to daily exercise but have a job that requires you to sit for long periods throughout the day, this is often not enough to overcome your inactive time and the negative effects on your body. When you sit all day or if you don’t do exercises to specifically activate your glutes then they can become lazy and inefficient.
If you suspect you or someone you know may be suffering from weak glutes it is important to get checked by a professional. As chiropractors we will thoroughly assess the structure and movement of your spine and pelvis in addition to measuring your strength and sensitivity levels. Adjustments are given to ensure optimal communication between the brain and your muscles (as well as other tissues and organs) and certain stretches and exercises may be recommended to help you keep in best balance and functioning at your best between your chiropractic appointments.
According to Cassandra Fairest there are five simple ways to refire your butt muscles:
-Using a standing desk
-10 repetitions of squeezing your glutes and holding for a count of five, repeated several times throughout the day.
-Bridges, lunges, squats (as long as the opposing muscles are also stretched with these)
Jacob’s recent article on squats is a great reference point for honing your technique, or you can check with us at your next visit.