Ask Amy: How Can I Prevent Dormant Butt Syndrome?
We’re proud to have Amy Hoover on board as P.volve’s Doctor of Physical Therapy, where she’s able to consult the entire community about the method and how it impacts the body. In our Ask Amy series, she answers your questions first hand so you can get the most out of your work with P.volve.
What is dormant butt syndrome, and what causes it?
Dormant butt syndrome is a term used to describe an imbalance of the muscles surrounding the hip. When we walk, our hips flex and extend repeatedly to propel our movement. In a balanced hip, we have the hip flexors that move the leg forward during the swing phase of the leg and the gluteals and hip extensors that turn on during the weight bearing phase of movement to stabilize and extend the hip, propelling us forward.
A dormant butt refers to weakness and underactivity in the gluteals. This can happen due to tightness and overuse of the hip flexors, which limit the ability of the glutes to turn on correctly. One of the contributing factors to this is prolonged sitting and shortening of the hip flexors. Over time, when the glutes are restricted from working correctly, they weaken and become “dormant.” This causes more stress on the lower back, hip and pelvic joints due to lack of support from the large muscles of the glutes.
How can one decipher if their glute muscles are dormant?
Since muscles and movement patterns change slowly over time, we don’t often notice those changes. More often, these issues manifest as pain or tightness which can limit our activity or ability to move the way we want to. Weakness in the gluteals can lead to increased stress on the lower leg, knee and IT band, and may cause symptoms in these areas. Tightness in the hip flexors can cause anterior pelvic tilt and increased tightness in the lower back, leading to lower back pain.
How can dormant butt be prevented?
Preventing weakness in the hips is best done though mindful movement and continued targeted strengthening and stretching of the hip musculature. A balance of strength and flexibility is key, and making sure you are not sitting for hours on end can help. Make sure you are getting up once an hour if you have a desk job, or move around as you talk on the phone.
Mindful activation of the glutes during daily activities can also help. This includes walking, stair climbing, squatting and getting up from a chair. Of course the best way to prevent muscle weakness and imbalance is targeted, whole body functional strengthening. The P.volve method targets this area specifically.
How can functional exercise help turn on these muscles?
Functional exercise is specifically designed to work your body in a way that it naturally moves throughout your day. We don’t move in one plane, so we should not only exercise in one plane. For example, doing squats to strengthen the hips does not take into account pivoting, moving sideways or turning. This is where the P.volve method excels. Mindful movements throughout multiple planes turn on muscles in a way that reteaches our body to use the correct muscle patterns to help balance our bodies. The gluteals specifically not only extend but also rotate the hip.
What particular movements, equipment or stretching that can help with this condition?
Movements that involve hip internal and external rotation as well as equipment such as the gliders, ankle bands and p.ball all target the whole hip complex to add resistance in functional movements. Hip opening stretches and hip flexor stretches or recovery workouts that target the hips and pelvis can really help improve and maintain mobility in the hips. P.volve workouts can really target the hip muscles to activate correctly, which will carry over into everyday life and help fire up those glutes so your butt will never be dormant again!
We are proud to announce Amy as P.volve’s Doctor of Physical Therapy, consulting the entire community about their work with our method. She’ll be continually providing feedback and answering important questions for the P.volve community, so keep an eye out for her advice on the blog. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org for topics you’d like Amy to cover!