Thoughts — Do you have a “dead butt?”

A friend of mine sent me this from the New York Times:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/21/when-the-diagnosis-is-dead-butt-syndrome/

In my office, I call it “flat butt syndrome,” but it is all the same: Weak gluteus muscles causing havoc in other parts of our bodies. Low back pain? Strengthen your glutes. Knee pain? Strengthen your glutes. Ankle/foot pain? Strengthen your glutes. You get the idea.

Usually if something hurts, something else is not doing its job. The gluteus medius and gluteus maximus are often the culprits. We don’t really use our glutes properly because we tend to sit on them all day.

Two exercises for gluteus maximus are squats and step-ups. The primary job of the maximus is hip extension to drive us forward and up.

To engage the gluteus maximus during the squat imagine that you are sticking your butt out behind you, but keep your torso upright. Your knees should stay behind your toes and your lower leg should remain perpendicular to the floor.
I call this the “glute-specific” technique since most people will try to use their quads (front of the legs) instead of the glutes. You really need to get your butt back and push from your heels.

Step-ups can be done on a step or platform. The goal is to have a platform high enough where the knee is at a 90° angle as you step up on the platform. As you step up, you want to push through the heel to drive your body up.

The gluteus medius is very important for keeping the pelvis level. Glute medius weakness can cause a whole host of problems from low back pain to Achilles tendon injuries.

An exercise I like for the glute medius is the single leg squat. While standing on one leg, reach down and forward with the opposite arm as if you are going to pick something off the floor. Keep your standing knee pointing straight ahead. This exercise not only strengthens the glute medius but also works on your balance.

The above exercises are just a few that can help alleviate that flat butt.