As we all know, the nation as a whole has gradually become more sedentary. This really shouldn't come as a surprise; after all, technology has meant that office jobs are more commonplace and as a result of this more of us are sitting at a computer for long periods of the day.
From a health point of view, studies have been released which show how detrimental this can be. Some have found links between cancer, heart disease and diabetes, just through sitting down for too long.
However, there is now even more to the story. The country is sitting down for such long periods that something going by the name of "dead butt syndrome" is occurring. In short, this is exactly as it sounds; the muscles in your butt fall asleep. Scientifically referred to as gluteal amnesia, it is caused when your gluteus medius gets inflamed to such an extent that it won't function properly. The blood flow is restricted and to make matters worse, it's not just your butt which is suffering. The pain can stretch to your lower back, hips and even your ankles. In the very worst case, your glute will not be activated properly when you take to exercises (even when you try and specifically train them).
All of the above really shouldn't come as a surprise. This is one of the largest muscles in the body, and it just isn't designed to have so much weight (through sitting down) placed on it through the day.
In fact, if you look back over time, there probably have been occasions where you have succumbed to such a sensation. A long-haul air journey could be one of these; after all, being sat stationary for twenty hours in some cases is hardly going to do your butt any favors. The problem is that these feelings can now become long-term, and this is why today's article has been penned.
Let's now take a look at how you can understand this condition better.
Are you already suffering from dead butt?
If you are the type of person employed in an office job, who sits down for long periods, there's every chance that you might suffer from dead butt in the future. Studies have already shown that this can impact the function of our glutes, so this is a sure-fire sign that you are at risk.
However, as we have already alluded to, there can be further symptoms. As your glutes are starting to shut down, other muscles start to deteriorate as well. This is because muscles around the hip and leg are weaker, yet are being asked to do the same job as what the glutes were meant to do. It means that any movements involving your back, spine or hips can result in immense pain.
While sitting down for long periods is obviously the primary cause here, there are other factors that can make the condition worse. For example, simply exercising incorrectly can heighten the issue. If you have already started to show signs of dead butt, and you start to exercise the glutes to try and compensate, you can make the problem worse. You can make them even less responsive, for the simple reason that all of the smaller muscles that we have already spoken about have taken over the movement. It means that the glutes don't have anything to do.
A common example revolves around the squat rack. If you have just completed another eight-hour shift, and then turn to the gym to hit the squat rack, the next day you might be set for a rude awakening. Rather than feeling your glutes, it can be your lower back, hamstrings and quads that are feeling the effects. This is because they have taken over the movement, and ultimately made it a whole lot worse.
What should you do if you start to suffer with dead butt?
If you have just started to experience the symptoms of dead butt, what should you turn to? Fortunately, all is not lost at this point and just because you are starting to feel the effects, doesn't mean to say that they are going to be long-lasting.
In short, the best way is to keep your gluteus maximus in peak condition. It means that if you are in an office job, try and make sure that you get up and move every once in a while. For those interested in specifics, the experts recommend ten minutes of movement for every hour that you spend at your desk. This should immediately ensure that your butt muscles don't fall asleep.
In terms of exercise, there is further advice. You need to place particular emphasis on stretching, which should prepare the glutes for exercise and allow them to activate accordingly.
What sort of exercises should you be doing?
Following on from the above, there are some specific exercises that can help you no-end in a bid to prevent the dreaded dead butt symptom. Sometimes, it might not take a strict exercise regime of course. On some occasions it might simply involve clinching your butt muscles through the day, while other people might just rely on cushions to help them through the day.
However, for those wanting some examples, these exercises focus on the three muscles around the glutes and can again help to reverse any symptoms that you might currently have.
Lateral step up
To perform this first exercise, start with a steady surface that can comfortably withstand your weight, while it also needs to be at least knee-height. Stand side-on to the object, before placing one foot on the surface and focusing on your glutes and quads as you step onto it. Try and do this for ten repetitions, before switching to your other foot.
We've all heard about lunges, but the side lunge is particularly powerful when it comes to your glutes. This time, start with your feet together, before making a wide step towards the side, making sure that your opposite knee bends to 90 degrees. Then, perform the same exercise by going in the other direction, with your opposite knee bending.
Wide stance jump squat
This is slightly different to the traditional squat that we are used to. You will start with your feet just over shoulder width apart, before performing a squat to the 90-degree mark. This is the point in which the exercise takes a big change; you need to focus on your glutes and quads propelling you into the air before you land in your original position.
Another variation of the squat comes with kettlebells. Taking a kettlebell, bring it to your chest with your elbows next to your body. Then, getting into a standard squat pose, start to dip your body into a squat whilst holding the kettlebell. You should aim to come down to 90 degrees, ensuring that the weight is always supported.
Side steps using bands
The final exercise we are going to talk about involves exercise bands. Take one, and strap it to the top of your ankles. Start to bend your knees and walk sideways for ten steps, before repeating the exercise the other way. This will activate the glutes and other major muscles, ultimately causing them to strengthen.
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