Is Your Butt Turned On?

by Dr. Christopher on December 4, 2011

Courtesy of fitfinity

Are you squeezing your butt right now?  Is your butt turned on?

If not, it could be helpful to start thinking a whole lot more about your butt and its size.

Your Butt Is Always On My Mind

I must feel people’s behinds and talk about butts … I don’t know … 20 times a day.

When I was in chiropractic school, I remember becoming more conscious about my posture. 

Double chin … check.

Wing blades tucked into my back pockets … check.

Weight on my heels … check.

Squeezing my butt cheeks as if I’m tucking my tail between my legs (yes, just like a dog!) … check.

Now, this conscious control of my posture has become largely subconscious so I don’t think about it anymore.

Why is a turned on butt so important?

Pay Attention To The Giants

The movers of the world say that we stand on the shoulders of giants.

How true is that statement!!

I remember speaking with Brian McKenzie of Crossfit Endurance fame about his infinitely long conversations with Kelly Starrett of, two giants in the health and fitness field today.

Apparently, they talk about butts all the time too.  Brian was telling me how Kelly was asking him what percentage of the day he contracts his posterior side (butt).  Kelly answered his own question, “Mine is on all day.”  The two continued to speak about how important it is to turn on your butt and keep your tail bone (sacrum) tucked underneath you when standing.

Couresty of tiawellness

Because of our sedentary lifestyles, our psoases and iliaci (the plural forms of psoas and iliacus that I made up) tend to get very tight.  With tight psoases and iliaci (hip flexors) in the front, our butt (hip extensors) has to work just as hard to keep a balanced, healthy position of the hip and spine. 

What happens with tight hip flexors is that most women who think they have a big butt actually just have a hyperlordotic spine (see the above image “lordosis of the spine”).  This overloads the posterior (the back portions) of the spine.  Low back pain, anyone?

It’s like two kids on a teeter totter.  If the kids are of equal weight (similar to a neutral spine and a healthy back), the loads (or amount of work) can be balanced and go back and forth over the whole apparatus. 

But if one of the kids is overweight, the load tends to stay mainly on the overweight kid’s side.  He stays on the ground more and doesn’t get to experience the joys of flight as much as the lighter child, and the facets of the low back in this metaphor take a beating.

OK so … tight hip flexors in the front.  Turned off butt in the back.  Who cares?

Your butt (multiple hip external rotators, gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and hammies (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris) are arguably the most important muscles in your body for musculoskeletal health.

Bold claim Chris.

If your butt and hamstrings are strong and turned ON, then you have a lot of things going well for you.  You probably don’t have low back pain, hip pain, or knee pain.  Sciatica, IT Band Syndrome, meniscus or ACL replacement operations, and year-long pain from a disc herniation is likely far out of your consciousness.  If you can maintain the integrity of those two groups of muscles, you’ll probably age well and be able to stand up from the toilet when you’re 90 years old.

In other words, a strong butt and hamstring group will prevent you from needing your grandson to lift you off of the toilet after you do your business.  (Yes, I had to help my stubborn, way too proud Babci off the toilet.  She didn’t own this concept and her pride suffered greatly.  Luckily, it taught me a lesson to forward on to you.)

My Challenge To You

Be more conscious of your butt. 

Squeeze it, especially when you’re standing and walking.  (Remember: Think scared dog.  Tuck your tailbone underneath you).

Grow it.  If you’re not squatting and lunging on a daily basis and deadlifting at least once a week, there’s no better time to start than today.

Observe it on others.  (Not that you needed to be told that.)

Dr. Christopher Stepien is a chiropractor, chronic pain specialist, and A.R.T. provider, and clinic director of the Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic in Morristown, NJ.  He practices out of Guerrilla Fitness:Crossfit Morristown.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

stella December 5, 2011 at 11:53 am

saving us from bad butts, dr. chris to the rescue- seriously, though, you’re right, it does make a difference- soon, i will get to the point where i can tuck in my tail without thinking about it!

Dr. Christopher December 5, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Stellaaaaaa! I hope you are well! Miss you around these parts. Doesn’t it make a difference?

Hope you’re still doing your exercises! And enjoying the sunlight! And the rainy days!

Dr. Mike Murray December 14, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I had to lift my grandpa off the toilette too. He was embarrassed every time. Good lesson for me to keep working out for life!! I wish my dad would realize it and get his ass off the couch and start squatting!

Another great article my friend.

Dr. Christopher December 15, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Dr. Mike!

Humbling to do that to your grandparent isn’t it?

With your dad, you can lead a horse to water ….

I gave up on trying to make my dad healthier when I graduated from chiropractic college two years ago. Then he starts Crossfitting this summer. Go figure. They have to make the decision on their own.

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