We all know that sitting all day has lots of detrimental affects on our health, but that doesn’t change the fact that if you have a desk job, you’re sitting 8 plus hours a day!
Since your glutes impact your hip movement, pelvis rotation, and pelvic stability, what’s bad for your butt is actually bad for your entire body.
Besides all the negative health affects chronic sitting induces, it is very damaging to the strength and activity of your glutes. Your brain controls all your muscles, and it likes to conserve energy whenever possible. Your glutes are the biggest muscles in your body so if you’re not using them, your brain is happy to save all that energy and turn them off. This becomes a big issue when you sit all day. Your brain is so used to having your glutes off, that even when you get moving, the neuromuscular connection is weak and it’s hard to get your glutes to fire normally again.
To further exacerbate the problem, your hip flexors are sitting in a shortened state all day causing reciprocal inhibition, meaning the opposing muscle (your glutes) can’t fire. Lift your leg to 90 degrees and try to flex your butt, it ain’t happening! This pulls your hips forward causing an arch in your low back, and is the root of a lot of low back pain.
Your hips control what’s going on all the way down to your feet. If you look down and don’t see any arches and attribute this to just having "flat feet", think again! When the hips get stiff from sitting, we lose the ability to create torque in the joint and can’t fight gravity to keep the knee, ankle, and foot in alignment.
I think you get the picture, weak glutes is bad, really bad, in a lot of ways. So what can you do about it?
Check your posture regularly
If you are forced to sit all day, make sure you sit with good posture *checks posture*. Even with good intentions, it’s impossible to constantly be mindful and gravity will start to beat down on you. Set yourself up for success by creating a reminder system. I’m a big fan of using reminders on my phone, for literally everything, but use what works for you. Start by setting a reminder every 15 minutes to check your posture and reestablish good position. If you can, take a 60 second walk once every hour throughout the day. Walking is one of the easiest ways to reset your posture and it doesn’t take more than a few steps!
Release your hip flexors
It’s important to fight hip flexor tightness that chronic sitting can induce. When I look at returning a muscle to a normal contraction, I look at two things; inhibition and stretching. Using a foam roller or tennis ball we can work into the fascia and muscle of the hips flexors to get them to shut off and release. Then use some light stretching and mobility work to help return the muscles back to a relaxed state.
Foam Roll - Hip Flexor
Standing Hip Flexor Stretch - make sure to keep your abs engaged and your hips underneath you
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Activate your glutes
The obvious next step from here would be to strengthen your glutes, and that’s definitely something that everyone needs to make a priority. But as I mentioned earlier, chronic sitting leads to a deficiency in the neuromuscular control of the glutes, so if you jump right into strength training you’re going to have a very hard time activating your glutes effectively, diminishing the return of your workouts. Before you start any glute exercises, do these activation drills to fire up those motor neurons and prepare your glutes to actually work. You can do these at your desk, before a workout, before bed, the more the better! You might want to warn your co-workers about what you’re doing so you don't come across as a total weirdo, and maybe get them to join in!
Stand up and squeeze your butt hard - no video necessary for this one. Just stand up and flex your glutes as hard as you can. Start with 3 reps of 15 second holds and increase the length of holds from there!
Standing Hip Extension - make sure to keep your abs engaged and your hips underneath you
Desk Chair Glute Bridge
Strengthen your glutes
Now for the good part, building that big ole booty! Yes guys, this is important for you too. We have a few different muscles going on back there, so it’s important to hit them all with your training. You can build muscle with a variety or rep ranges and weights, just make sure you are taking your sets to near failure or at least an 8 out of 10 exertion level.
Sitting all day can take it's toll on your health and your body, but there are ways to combat it. When you implement this program take into account how much you sit everyday. Remember the more often you can do these things the better, but it will take time to correct some of these issues. Use these tips to retake control from your chair and build a butt that works as good as it looks!
Want help becoming the healthiest, fittest, strongest version of you?
Most of us know that eating well, regular activity, and managing our sleep and stress levels are important for a healthy life. Still, we struggle to apply that information into our already busy lives. That's why the Profectus Fitness coaching programs help you create a strategy to lose fat, get stronger and improve your health, all in the context of your own life. We know that's the only way to keep these changes for good, no matter what situation you're in.