Running and the Dreaded Dead Butt Syndrome

Share This Post:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email

How can your butt be dead?

It’s a funny term for sure. How can your butt be dead? Well, have you tried to squeeze your cheeks and nothing happened? Your butt is officially dead. But why does this happen and can we fix it?

Our societal norm is to sit. When you go over to someone’s house what do they say? Come on it, have a seat! When you go to your “appointment” whatever and wherever that may be, what do you do? You SIT in the waiting area. And how did you get there…probably driving, which is also, you guessed it, SITTING! And the WORST of all is having an hour+ commute, in your car, to go to your office and SIT! No wonder the butts have gone numb.


Our bodies are incredibly put together with muscle and tendons, ligaments and bones, fasciia and nerves all helping us get through the day. Our brain is always trying to find the least expensive way to get through it all. Have you ever heard the term “If you don’t use it, you lose it!” Well, simply put, when we sit most of our day, and we are in a forward flexed hip position, our muscles in the front of our hips get tight because they are always shortened, and the muscles in the back of our hips get weak because they are always lengthened. If that muscle is chronically tight or chronically stretched, it can’t appropriately contract and it weakens.

Now think about that awesome 8 hour work day, where you sat for probably 7 of those 8 hours, with your hour commute to and from work…but wait! Today you are driving to the gym. Let’s go for a run! No warm up needed because you only have 30 minutes. Perfect! Except now you have no hip extension. The front is too tight, the back to too weak, you didn’t warm up or foam roll or stretch, and you certainly haven’t done any strength training because this marathon training program is making you run 5 days a week. Let’s just RUN! After about 15 minutes into your run you start feeling some weird achy pain in your ___________ (fill in the blank, can be hip, knee, ankle, foot, even low back). There is probably a HUGE connection to the fact that you have zero hip extension and a dead butt.

How Can We Fix It?

First, I want you to stand in front of a mirror, preferably one that is full length, but you have to at least be able to see your foot, leg, and hip. Make sure you are barefoot. Now pick a leg and balance on that one leg. What happens? Now switch legs. What happens? If you have a hard time keeping your balance, we have a place to start.

It’s exercise time! The most important thing before you start these exercises is to know that if anything causes you injury type pain, you should see a physical therapist first.

Exercise 1: Wake Up The Butt

Exercise 2: Use It With Your Core

Exercise 3: Put It All Together

These exercises are a great way to get your butt back in action. Don’t get frustrated. It might take a few weeks to months before you notice much of a change. Be consistent and find a time every day to make it happen.

Look for my follow on blog to learn more about the foot/hip connection!

Happy Training!

Dr. Jenn Gaddy

Dr. Jenn Gaddy

Jenn Gaddy, is a performance Physical Therapist, Certified USA Triathlon Coach, Pose Method Running Coach, Metabolic Efficiency Training Certified Practitioner, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Bike Fitter, Athlete and MOM.

Mastery vs Perfection

As a coach, physical therapist, wife and mom I often find myself striving for perfection. The perfect race, the perfect technique, the perfect home. I

Read More »