Unless you live in a cave, you’ve probably heard that sitting all day is not great for your heart, or your waistline. But it turns out that sitting also causes big problems for your butt.
Some of these problems include low back pain, knee pain, decreased hip mobility, tight psoas muscles, plantar fasciitis, chronic ankle sprains and poor performance.
How does this happen?
If you’re like most people in our modern society, you’re sitting at least eight hours a day. Typically, you sit for breakfast, you sit while driving, you sit at work, you sit during lunch, you sit on the couch in the evening and then you go to bed.
All of this time spent sitting causes your hip flexors to become short and tight, which in turn causes your butt muscles to become dormant. In other words, they go to sleep.
This process is known as reciprocal inhibition and can occur in any opposing muscle groups in the body. Reciprocal inhibition happens when tightness in one muscle (your hip flexors) creates length in the muscle on the opposite side of the joint (your glutes).
If this goes on for too long, your glute muscles become lengthened and desensitized, and they won’t turn on when you try to engage them.
Spinal Mechanics expert, Stuart McGill, coined the term “gluteal amnesia” to describe this condition.
Amazingly, almost everyone I see in my studio has at least one muscle group that is not functioning properly, when they first come in to see me. Very often, that muscle group is the glutes.
And I’m not speaking about your average sedentary desk worker, I’m speaking about fitness enthusiasts and athletes as well as their sedentary friends.
Why are the glutes so important?
The gluteal muscles (a group of three muscles that make up the buttocks) are the largest muscles in the body. Having a strong and active butt muscle can improve your daily activities, improve performance in sports, and prevent injuries.
This is why I want to show you how to do the hip thrust exercise. It is one of the most powerful and effective exercises for activating your glute muscles.
Tips and Techniques for the Hip Thrust Exercise
- Lean against a bench and rest your shoulders on the edge. Your torso should be at about a 45 degree angle. Bend your knees to 90 degrees, and place your feet about shoulder width apart with your toes pointing slightly outwards.
- Take a deep breathe and hold your ribcage down by bracing your abs, obliques, and diaphragm muscles.
- Pressing both feet into the floor, raise your hips upward while squeezing your glutes until you reach full hip extension. Your torso and thighs should be roughly parallel with the ground with your ribcage down.
- Pause at the top for a big glute squeeze, and then slowly lower your hips to the floor.
Here is a video to show you what this looks in action: