You sit on it every day and might even take the padding on your backside for granted, but chances are high your butt is sleeping on the job. Lazy glutes have become so commonplace that Ohio State University physical therapist Chris Kolba PhD, MHS, coined the term dormant butt syndrome to explain the issue. This problem, however, has long been acknowledged by personal trainers, and when training Pilates clients I referred to it as glute amnesia — the muscles have simply forgotten what to do, which is to turn on and engage to help absorb the impact of each step as you walk and run. When your glutes aren't firing the shock of the impact moves up and down the kinetic chain causing pain in the low back, hips, knees, even traveling as far as the ankles.
The problem stems from sitting for prolonged periods of time, which tightens the hip flexors — the muscles that pull the knee toward the belly — and eventually override the glutes turning them off, or to extend the metaphor putting them to sleep. The two muscle groups are "antagonists" and are at odds with each other like the hero and villain in a Shakespearean play (yes, a major muscle group not working is high drama). The muscles that pull the body into the fetal position, including the powerful hip flexors, tend to dominate their antagonists. In order to give your glutes a fighting chance in this power struggle, you need to loosen up the front of your hips and then fire up then booty. Here's how: