According to the Huffington Post, "dead butt syndrome," or gluteal amnesia, occurs when prolonged sitting inflames your gluteus medius (gluteus maximus' often-overlooked cousin, which plays an important role in hip rotation and stabilizing the pelvis), preventing it from functioning properly. "Sitting too long can restrict the blood flow, which can lead to hip pain, lower backache, and problems with your ankles. The glutes will fail to fire properly even when performing exercises targeting the glutes," Donovan Green, celebrity fitness trainer, said.
"Sitting too long can restrict the blood flow, which can lead to hip pain, lower backache, and problems with your ankles. The glutes will fail to fire properly even when performing exercises targeting the glutes." —Donovan Green, celebrity fitness trainer
When dead butt syndrome (hereafter known as DBS) occurs, you'll probably feel a tingling in your backside, just like you would in your foot after you've crossed your legs for too long or your arm after you nap in a contorted position (oops). The "falling asleep" sensation occurs because your nerves are being compressed or irritated, and while some instances of DBS are mild, Green says longterm inactivity "has been shown in multiple studies to have a major impact on how well we can contract and use our glutes effectively."
So how can you make sure your job doesn't cause problems with your tuchus (and the rest of your body!) down the line? Aside from taking regular breaks from sitting—like going on a walk or doing a quick workout over your lunch break—it's also key to make sure your booty is getting the exercise it needs on the regular through targeted moves. Here are three equipment-free options to start with.
Pilates instructor Amy Cardin shares 3 moves to combat dead butt syndrome.
1. Side-lying leg lifts
Setup: "Begin lying on your left hip and leaning on your left forearm for support. Bend your left leg for stability and feel an upward lift on the left side of the waist to avoid sinking your body weight into your left shoulder."
How to do it: "Straighten your right leg as long as possible on the mat. Without dropping the left side of the waist, lift the right leg above hip height and lower back down. Repeat 10 to 15 times. On your last rep, hold your leg in the air for 10 seconds to really get the gluteus medius to fire. Repeat on the opposite leg."
2. Hip extension with bent knee
Setup: "Begin on all fours [in a tabletop position] with your knees directly under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders. Find a neutral spine and engage your abdominals to support your low back."
How to do it: "Keep your knee at a 90-degree angle and your core engaged as you lift your right foot up toward the ceiling [in a sort of donkey kick], then return the knee toward the ground. Keep your trunk completely stable as your repeat 10 times. On your last rep, hold for ten seconds to get your gluteus medius and maximus to fire. Repeat on the opposite side."
3. Shoulder bridge prep
Setup: "Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor with your arms down by your sides."
How to do it: "Begin by pressing your back down onto the mat and peeling your hips up to the ceiling into a bridge position. Without dropping either side of your pelvis, lift your right leg up to table top (knee and ankle in line with each other and your shin parallel to the floor). Without changing the angle of your knee, tap your right toes towards the ground and return to table top. Repeat 10 times before switching legs. To end, articulate down through your spine, returning to the mat. This exercise is great for not only activating your glutes, but also the whole posterior side of the body."
Want more ways to exercise your butt? This booty-kicking workout will make you feel like a (sweaty) prima ballerina. Or, try Jessica Biel's insanely hard glutes workout.
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