Today, we are going to wake up your butt and talk about Dead Butt Syndrome. Yes, it is a real thing and you might be triggering it right now…
Dead Butt Syndrome
It is also known as gluteal amnesia. You can get it from sitting too long. If you are sitting right now, get up.
How do you get Dead Butt Syndrome?
Dead Butt Syndrome happens when the gluteus medius stops firing correctly. This can happen when you sit too long but it can also happen if you have a muscle instability, either in your quads or your hamstrings. This can also happen to people who don’t engage their glutes enough. Your glutes help stabilize your pelvis.
You can check out more of that in this video right HERE.
Dead Butt Syndrome has to do with reciprocal inhibition. This is when one muscle contracts and the opposite muscle will relax. Take for instance your bicep – If I tighten my bicep up or make a contraction I am shrinking the muscle in the bicep. Now the tricep which runs underneath, which is opposing to the bicep, will actually lengthen and it will stretch out. So when you sit too long, your hip flexors become tighter and your glutes relax. The same thing can happen to an individual who is stronger or more quad dominant or more hamstring dominant. This is very common in marathon runners.
By the way, your butt is not actually dying, it’s not dead, you’re just not using it as much so it’s not awake.
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How do you know if you have Dead Butt Syndrome?
There is a test in physical therapy called the Trendelenburg Test (watch a demonstration in the video above). The Trendelenburg test is pretty easy. You just lift your leg up and if this hip drops then you know you have a weak gluteus medius. If it doesn’t then you know that your gluteus medius is strong.
What can you do to avoid Dead Butt Syndrome?
Take frequent breaks from sitting!
4 Exercises to Avoid Dead Butt Syndrome
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Here are four exercises you can do to help wake up and strengthen your gluteus medius.
Curtsy with Knee Raise (1A-1B)
The Curtsy with knee raise is great for working that gluteus medius. Take a step back like you are curtsying. Put all the weight in that supporting front leg and sit in that hip a little bit, not that much weight in the back leg, it’s really just there for balance. You are going on a 45 degree angle backwards, so you are not directly back and you are not directly side. At the 45 degree angle, drop down and as you come up, pick your leg up and then go back into the curtsy.
Standing Quad Extension (2A-2B)
One of my favorites is standing on one leg and extending your leg out in front of you. Not only are you working on this leg but you are also working on the quad of the leg that you have up.
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Side Lying Leg Lifts (1A-1B)
Another old favorite, thank you Jane Fonda, is the side lying leg lifts. Bend your bottom leg for support, the top leg lead with your heel because that is going to engage your glute. If you lead with your toes up you are going to work your quads so really try and think about those toes going down. Lift up and lower. Make sure your hips are stacked on top of each other.
Single Leg Squats (2A-2B)
There are many variations of the single leg squat but this one is basic and easier for balance. Pop your one leg up while most of your weight is on the supporting leg, there should be very little weight on this leg. Squat down into your squat, you can reach your arms forward, come up and squeeze that glute. Drop down, sitting back and then come back up.
Bridges (not shown)
(see video for demonstration)
Another great exercise is bridges. Lay on your back, feet are flat, hands are down by your side, engage the glutes by tipping the pelvis up and lift up in the air squeezing your glutes. Weight is in your heels, long neck, press those hands into the floor and then what I like to do is not touch the bottom once you start.
You can watch the video above for more details on these exercises.
Bottom Line on how to avoid dead butt syndrome:
Aim to move! Try not to sit too long so you can avoid Dead Butt Syndrome.