The butt or shall I say the gluteals. A woman comes into the office with back pain. She bends over from her waist to get her insurance cards out of her purse which she has placed on the floor. Hmmm....that kind of bending done a lot will cause fatigue and eventually back pain.
On observation, the woman's buttocks is very flat -she does not seem to have much bulk to the gluteal muscles that make up the buttocks. She is likely bending the way she is-from her waist-because she does not have a great deal of strength. Nor is she likely aware of her gluteal muscles and how they can take the stress off of her lower back.
After an evaluation, our lesson begins, we begin a conversation about good body-mechanics and the need to use her legs for bending. All of her legs that is-yes, her knees as we are all told to "bend with your knees" but even more importantly she will need to be taught how to bend with her hips also. Bending and sticking the seat back while engaging the gluteals AND bending the knees. Not always the most ladylike way to bend but better for her back. If her back can tolerate it, we will perform some squats with this gluteal emphasis and give her these squats as one of her exercises to practice at home. She will need to practice and get use to the new way of moving so that she can transfer it over into her everyday movement patterns. By changing how she bends down, she may significantly reduce the stain on her lower back and her pain.
Some days, this pattern repeats with each client-whether for back pain or knee pain or hip pain or standing balance, training the butt-the gluteals-can have a significant impact on function and pain reduction.