This is when your butt muscles basically forget how to fire correctly. How does this happen?
It’s actually a common problem today. People are spending inordinate amounts of time sitting behind their computers, driving their cars, sitting on couches etc. Sedentary, lifestyles often driven by work environments, tend to be more the norm than the exception these days.
With all this sitting, the muscles around the hip joint experience something called “reciprocal inhibition”. That’s when the muscles in front of the hip, your hip flexors, become short and tight from being in that shortened position of sitting and the opposite muscles, the butt muscles, are neurologically inhibited and become overstretched, weak and inactive.
Why does this matter to you?
Well besides developing a saggy weak butt that’s beginning to head south, there’s another concern.
Your Gluteus maximus, your largest butt muscle, is your strongest hip extensor and external rotator muscle. If it’s inhibited from doing it’s job, the Piriformis muscle-a smaller external rotator, may have to jump in to take up the slack.
If the Piriformis muscle does more than it’s designed to do and over fires you can get something called “Piriformis syndrome”. This is when the Piriformis muscle becomes irritated and inflamed and may press on the sciatic nerve. This can result in sciatica which is pain, numbness and tingling down your leg.
In general you want to avoid gluteal amnesia because you don’t want other muscles jumping in to take up the slack, as that can result in injuries.
How do you fix it?
First you need to stretch those muscles in front of the hip that are short, tight and inhibiting gluteal action. Then you want to strengthen those gluts!
Watch the video for the exercises that combat gluteal amnesia, normalize the relationship of the muscles in front of and behind the hips and get your glutes firing! You can fast forward to the 2 min mark to see just the exercises or watch from the beginning and see the explanation with visuals.