Have you ever sat so long at work, engrossed in your latest project, that your butt literally falls asleep? Goes numb? Known as Dead Butt Syndrome or “gluteal amnesia,” the condition indicates that the muscles of your rear end are forgetting how to do their job because –--of inactivity.
[Dead Butt Syndrome=What’s Happening Down There?]
When we sit too long, blood flow is restricted, nerves get irritated and, over time, our hip flexors tighten and our gluteal muscles lengthen. This doesn’t mean our butts are “dead;” it means they’re weak and not activating efficiently. It also means that other muscles have to work harder to compensate. Translation: in addition to a numb or possibly inflamed gluteal medius, you may also experience back, knee, ankle and foot pain. Symptoms can be mild and occasional or severe and long-lasting.
Several studies have shown that sitting for extended periods of time has a major impact on how well we use our glutes—even when we exercise. For example, after an 8-hour day of working at your desk, you hit the gym for your daily workout. When your glute muscles aren’t activated properly during your run or your deadlifts, your smaller muscles end up taking over and instead of sore and stronger glutes, the next day you have a sore lower back, quads and tight hamstrings. For glute-strengthening exercises to incorporate into your workouts, see the exercise sections below.
[Reviving “Dead Butt”]
The primary source of Dead Butt Syndrome is a sedentary lifestyle—this includes a sedentary work-lifestyle. If you’re sitting at your desk for hours most days, you are increasing your risk. Keeping yourself active and healthy is key for prevention. So, how do you do this during your otherwise sedentary work day?
[FIT Tips to GET UP AND MOVE!]
FIT Tip 1: As soon as you feel that “tingle,” GET UP AND MOVE. Those big muscles down there were designed for big movement—take a flight of stairs to deliver a message, do 20 squats in front of your desk, or take a brisk walk out to your car and back.
FIT Tip 2: For every hour of sitting, GET UP AND MOVE for 10 minutes to get the blood flowing. Set a timer on your phone and create the movement habit.
FIT Tip 3: Whether standing or sitting, do frequent “butt squeezes” throughout your day. Clinching and releasing your glutes can help fire up those glutes, especially when you are helplessly bound to that chair and cannot GET UP AND MOVE!
[Dead Butt Work Break Exercises]
Not afraid to perform micro-workouts at your desk? Circuit through these office-friendly moves to revive your back side!
[Dead Butt Exercises for Your Workout]
Add these 4 exercises to your workout routine to help rebuild and retrain those gluteal muscles. Remember, these are functional moves not intended for heavy weight.
Page, N. “Dead Butt Syndrome is a real thing. Here’s how to tell if you have it. Huffington Post((2018) https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dead-butt-syndrome_n_5bd7319ce4b0a8f17efa83ed
Graham, K. “6 Exercises to target the gluteal medius.” ACE Fitness Journal(2018)
Joh, K. “Dead Butt Syndrome: 5 things to know.” Michigan Health(2017)