No, seriously where is it?
Have you ever been in class and your instructor cues you to “use your glutes”, “push through your heels” and you have no idea how to engage this infamous backside of yours or how to find this connection?
Do your legs feel heavy when you’re doing the hundred? How about the teaser? Did you know you should be using your butt here? Does your pelvis move more than you would like it to when you’re doing single leg circles and leg circles? Do you have tight hamstrings? Tight hip flexors? Low back pain? Knee pain? Do you have pain in your shoulders? I know, totally opposite end of the body and guess what they are connected to your butt!
If any of this applies to you, you may have a lazy butt. Yup, I said it. A Lazy Butt!
In your defense, it’s mostly sittings fault and let’s face it, we sit a lot! Many of our jobs require us to sit in front of a computer for long periods of time, some of us have long commutes, some of us travel requiring extended periods of time flying and then of course there are those weekend Netflix binges.
When we sit for prolonged periods of time two things happen, our glute muscles actually turn off leading to inactive glutes and our hip flexors shorten and tighten leading to overactive hip flexors. Over time this causes an anterior tilt of your pelvis rotating the pelvis inwards affecting your knees, ankles, lower back and even your shoulders.
Remember that song…your hip bone’s connected to your thigh bone, your thigh bone’s connected to your knee bone, and so on? Well, everything is connected and a lot depends on your butt. Specifically your pelvic stability. The position of your pelvis determines the leverage available to each of its attached muscles that control and stabilize the hips and lower back and so on. As a result, a hibernating heinie can lead to many injuries and chronic pain and it can lead to using overactive muscles like your hip flexors to hold your legs in things like the hundred and teaser instead of your glutes.
When your glutes are weak or inactive, your back extensors have to compensate causing lower back pain, your psoas tightens as a result of your lower back becoming more unstable leading it to work harder to help stabilize the lower back, your femurs begin to internally rotate your knees inward causing increased pressure on your knees and causing knock knees and foot pronation, and the list goes on. Even your shoulders which may seem pretty far away from your butt are connected to your glutes via fascia across the body to the opposite shoulder. So when your glutes are inhibited the fascia becomes tight and your shoulder range of motion is restricted. So when you can’t generate force from the ground up across the body to the shoulder you overuse your arm to generate power.
When your glutes are strong there is less pressure on your knees and ankles, your lower back does not bear the brunt of your motion and your shoulder does not have to play the role of your butt.
Bottom line (get it…bottom☺ )…your butt is important! By strengthening your glutes you can optimize your pelvic tilt to achieve a neutral position which gives your glutes the greatest leverage to act on the rest of your body.
Join me for the “Where is my Butt” clinic to learn how to activate your glutes with simple exercises you can do at home to slowly connect to your backside, strengthen your glutes, optimize your pelvic tilt, decrease chronic pain and make your Pilates practice even better and stronger.
By Laetitia Richter