So your butt forgot how to butt.
The first time I heard the term "gluteal amnesia" was in a barre class at Physiqa in Oakland California. I believe I chuckled to myself at the phrase, thinking that was an effective way to state that our glutes weren't working hard enough. Annabel Castaldo, owner of Physiqa, friend, and someone I consider a mentor, happened to be teaching this class that had a lasting impact on my own personal movement as well as how I approach teaching movement to others. Her phrase, "gluteal amnesia" just stuck with me and made me think about the cultural movement habits we have all adapted since the era of technology and convenience. Let's think about it;
We sit, A LOT.
Despite an active lifestyle, chances are we sit more than our grandparents did at our age. We sit in our cars, perhaps at a desk at work, and at home. It's not just the sitting that causes issues, it's how we sit.
We sit in chairs.
Unlike many other cultures, we sit off the floor, supported in highback chairs, comfy couches, and body-hugging bucket seats. This comfort has its price. Unfortunately the way we sit directly affects our back, glutes, and abdominals. When the legs are fixed at a 90 degree angle, the hip flexors shorten thus tilting the pelvis forward. Think of it like a chain reaction, pelvis tilts forward, abdominals disengage, glutes release, and the low back starts to tighten. Over time, this posture allows the glutes to go dormant and their job of stabilizing the hips is now taken over by the back. Once this happens, pain may begin to set in at the lower back, hips, and down the legs.
Wake those buns up!
There are many exercises that you can do to get you butt to butt again but one thing is a constant, you have to be MENTALLY present. While your glutes have physically stopped firing, that means the signals from your brain to your butt have weakened too. This is where the brain/body reconnection is so important. Some say that they workout to not think, to which I reply, "a mindless workout is an open invitation to injury and you are only getting 50% of what you could be getting if your brain were involved."
Become more present in your workout.
Personally, yoga introduced me to the concept of mindful movement and Pilates helps me go deeper physically and mentally. Barre, bridged to two together, not to mention it was where I had my first "gluteal awakening." For me, a successful barre class is a dance of the mind and body, a perfect balance of grace, strength, and flow. There are many different Barre Methods however, Flux Barre is dedicated to my client's personal postural needs and of course getting that behind to fire again.