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Dormant Butt Syndrome: The Role of the Glutes


Individuals dealing with chronic knee discomfort, hip tightness, and lower back pain could be experiencing dormant gluteal-butt syndrome. Can recognizing the symptoms and signs and incorporating lower body and core fitness help prevent and treat the condition?

Dormant Butt Syndrome: The Role of the Glutes

Dormant Gluteal Butt Syndrome

Knee, hip, and lower back problems could be traced back to weakened buttocks. Some scientists call the condition “dormant butt syndrome” (Ohio State University, .2023). However, researchers are learning about the important role the gluteal muscles provide in maintaining the lower body strong and healthy. (Hal David Martin, Manoj Reddy, Juan Gómez-Hoyos. 2015)

What Is It?

The syndrome is defined as weak buttock muscles and tight hip flexors. Experts from the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center have worked with individuals dealing with knee, hip, or back injuries and believe many of these issues are linked to weakened gluteal muscles. (Ohio State University.2023) The glutes are the muscles of the hips and buttocks. Weakened muscles fail to absorb the shock they’re supposed to during activities, which results in overloading the surrounding muscles and joints and increases the risk of injury. (Ohio State University, .2023)

  • Dormant gluteal-butt syndrome can result from a sedentary lifestyle and prolonged inactivity, like sitting for long periods.
  • The condition also occurs in runners and other physically active individuals who forget about these muscles with targeted exercises.


Exercises to target the gluteals and prevent dormant gluteal-butt syndrome include activities/exercises that work the hips and core.

  • When walking properly, the gluteals should execute hip extension naturally.
  • Unhealthy postures, excessive sitting, and continued dysfunctional biomechanics mean walking without achieving optimal hip extension. (Hadi Daneshmandi. 2017)
  • When this happens, the gluteal muscles never get to fully function work, ending up with a series of aches and pains.
  • Pilates exercises can be adjusted to address order, repetition, and variation to strengthen the gluteals. (Laís Campos de Oliveira, 2015)

Hamstring Curls

  • Lie face down on an exercise mat.
  • Use your hands to create a cushion for the forehead.
  • Bend both knees so the feet point up towards the ceiling.
  • Let the knees be slightly apart, but keep the heels together.
  • Squeeze the heels together and tighten the gluteal muscles.
  • Hold for 3 seconds, then release the buttocks.
  • Repeat 10 times and then rest.
  • Hamstring curls can also be done using a weight machine.

Leg Pull Ups

  • Sit on a mat with your legs together in front.
  • Place the hands just behind the backside with the fingers pointing forward if possible.
  • Raise the body up.
  • Keep your head up and look straight ahead.
  • Raise one leg as high as possible.
  • Hold for as long as possible.
  • Lower and raise the other leg.
  • Repeat for a total of 3 reps.

Lining Up With A Wall Posture Helper

Standing posture is important to proper buttock function. Lining the body up with a wall can help train the body to maintain proper posture.

  • Find a wall and stand against it from the heels to the back of the head.
  • Work the backs of the legs and spine as firmly as possible into the wall.
  • Work to get the back of the skull into the wall as well.
  • Add some abdominal work by working the waistline inward and upward.
  • Hold for up to one minute.
  • The alignment is how you want to hold your body.
  • As you move off the wall, learn to maintain that posture throughout the day and night.
  • Repeat the wall exercise several times for reinforcement.

If aching of the hip, back, or knee is part of daily struggles, working out the gluteal muscles may be the solution. Contact the Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic for a full consultation.

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The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. (2023) Dormant butt syndrome may be to blame for knee, hip and back pain.

Martin, H. D., Reddy, M., & Gómez-Hoyos, J. (2015). Deep gluteal syndrome. Journal of hip preservation surgery, 2(2), 99–107. doi.org/10.1093/jhps/hnv029

Daneshmandi, H., Choobineh, A., Ghaem, H., & Karimi, M. (2017). Adverse Effects of Prolonged Sitting Behavior on the General Health of Office Workers. Journal of lifestyle medicine, 7(2), 69–75. doi.org/10.15280/jlm.2017.7.2.69

Campos de Oliveira, L., Gonçalves de Oliveira, R., & Pires-Oliveira, D. A. (2015). Effects of Pilates on muscle strength, postural balance and quality of life of older adults: a randomized, controlled, clinical trial. Journal of physical therapy science, 27(3), 871–876. doi.org/10.1589/jpts.27.871

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The information herein on "Dormant Butt Syndrome: The Role of the Glutes" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

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