|My butt, and my son's butt at a recent family-friendly mud run.|
It was long known by my physical therapist that the root of my back problem was a non-functioning arse. The gluteus maximus is so named because it is one honking big muscle. Bad things happen when these massive muscle fibers don't literally carry their weight. At some point my glute max decided that life was too hard--all this running, biking, swimming was such a chore--so it abandoned the program, choosing a life of leisure while the surrounding muscles picked up the slack... until they couldn't.
My physical therapist assured me the problem wasn't one of strength, it was neurological: My butt muscles just weren't firing. Once my brain (such that it is) could tell my butt to get off it's butt and engage, the pain I had everywhere else would subside.
Since June I've taken steps to wake the sleeping giant (I mean that figuratively, people!) that is my butt.
I learned where various body parts should be in relation to other body parts thanks to an alignment makeover, and now can feel my body creeping into positions that truly support my frame and -- get this -- engage my butt!
When I stop thrusting my ribs and bring them down where they are supposed to be I can finally bring my pelvis back where it's supposed to be, which is in-line with my ankles. If you stand that way, which is the way you're supposed to stand, you will feel your glutes, I promise you. In that glorious place my glutes must work to keep me up--not my low back, my psoas or my thoracic spine (oh for the love of tightness in my shoulders and upper back!)
When I started Katy Bowman's alignment snacks 10 weeks ago that was all theory. But (ha, Butt!) I have worked very hard, having taken each of her 20 video courses (each 25-35 minutes) two, three or four times each, and now my body is starting to remember, to correct, to hold the right alignment.
What's more, I have learned how to walk. That's right, walk. Walking, previously unbeknownst to me and my butt, should use those gluteus max muscles and lateral hips, not the quads and hip flexors. Now when I walk I feel my butt working, my hip no longer aches. This is huge.
Bigger yet... here's what I know now (and Katy Bowman will be thrilled because this is what she's been trying to get through to me for three years now):
I can't get a strong, functioning butt in the gym.
A strong functioning butt is not about "exercising" the butt for an hour a day with a few sets of squats or deadlifts. Sure, that helps, and I don't discourage a good work out, but if you want a strong functioning butt, learn to use your butt. All. Day. Long.
Do share. Have you lost your mind, your butt, both, or neither?