Knee pain? Hip tightness? Low back issues?

According to research, the problem just might be your butt. More specifically, it may be what scientists are calling “dormant butt syndrome.” I know what you’re thinking: there’s no way your problems could be traced back to your rump. Except that it may very well be exactly that.

In the years of being a Pilates instructor, I have never once heard a client complain that their rear end was too tight or too strong.

Of course, there can always be select muscular imbalances, but by and large, most individuals tend towards the weak end of the backside muscle-tone spectrum.

The Science Behind Dormant Butt Syndrome

Experts have backed up that dormant butt syndrome is real, and while the label is unattractive sounding, it does neatly sum things up. The syndrome is defined as weak buttocks and tight hip flexors.

Experts who have worked with patients suffering with knee, hip or back injuries believe these issues are linked to your butt.  Weak buttocks fail to absorb the shock the should during activity which results in overload to the rest of the joints and can lead to injury.  Most often inactivity is the reason for this such as long periods of sitting.  But it can happen in runners and other active people who don’t address this area.

Exercises to Ward Off Dormant Butt

The exercises to target your gluteals and ward off dormant butt are a body of moves identified as hip extension exercises. This is the movement that results from bringing your thigh bone backwards in space behind your pelvis. When you walk properly, the back leg should execute hip extension naturally, but poor posture, excessive sitting, and habitually dysfunctional biomechanics mean that many of us walk without achieving optimal hip extension.

In turn, the gluteal muscles never get to work and you end up with a series of painful problems.

Thankfully, Pilates can address your gluteals with some tried and true exercises you should have in your toolbox to stave off a potentially dormant butt.

Proper Pilates is done with attention to the order, repetition, and variation, so I have taken the liberty of adjusting some of these moves to address this particular goal.

— Fiona smith

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