Freelance writer Jordyn Cormier asks Boundless Founder Karden Rabin about how to wake up our glutes and reduce pain in this Care2.com article.
If you’re like one of millions of Americans, you spend a large portion of your days sitting. And the results are serious. You are killing your butt.
We sit a lot. Think about it. Wake up in the morning and sit down for coffee and breakfast. Sit in the car on the way to work. Sit while we are at work. Get home and sit, maybe do a little exercise, and then sit some more until bedtime. Our butts are suffocating and shutting down. And we are in a lot of pain because of it.
When we spend hours a day on our bottoms, our gluteal muscles literally forget how to activate properly. In a sense, it is ‘gluteal amnesia.’ When you are in a seated position, the butt muscles spend a lot of time deactivated while the hip flexors become very short, weak and tight, which is an equation for major kinesthetic disfunction.
Your butt is a powerhouse of your body. When the 3 muscles of your glutes aren’t firing properly, other areas of your body, like the hip flexors, must overcompensate. This means you’re increasing your risk for pain and injury in the lower back, hips, and knees. Yes, a lot of knee, hip and lower back pain stems from gluteal dysfunction.
I had the opportunity to chat with renown bodywork expert Karden Rabin LMT—founder of Boundless, a bodywork and pain management center in the Berkshires of Massachusetts—and asked him to explain the dead butt phenomenon a little more.
“You use it or lose it, and when we talk about having gluteal amnesia, our neuromuscular relationship between the brain and the muscles of our butt is nearly erased. The consequences are you have to use other muscle groups to do nearly everything from walking to running. And while exercises can help, that’s not the only answer. If I told you my diet plan was that I was going to eat junk for 23 hours a day and then eat well for one hour, you’d think I was a crazy idiot. But when it comes to fitness, we all think that sounds completely reasonable.”
Exercise simply isn’t always enough. While it is important to exercise, one hour of daily exercise is not enough to undo a day of unmindful sitting. So, how can you combat gluteal amnesia? Here’s what Karden recommends:
“One I would suggest a standing desk. Everyone who works at a desk should have one. Two, exploring chi running and chi walking, which explores the muscles you are using to initiate movement [more on this below]. And for exercises, one of my favorites starts supine with heels up on a physioball. Lift your hips towards the ceiling, and pull the ball in towards your butt with your heels, contracting the entire rear posterior chain. Then roll back out to the starting position, really focusing on pushing with the heels and contracting the glutes.”