Walking with Your Butt Out

It is important in both standing and walking to stick your butt out. This simple statement seems to go against the grain of what many people want to think and believe is correct. As a culture we love to tuck our pelvis. Maybe you hurt your back and a physical therapist told you to tuck under to lengthen your low spine; or you’ve done too many bad fitness classes at the gym, or you simply think your butt is too big.  For whatever of the many reasons the vast majority of people allow the weight of the spine to fall backwards through the sacrum tucking the pelvis under and taking the femur (thigh) bones forward with it.

walk with your butt out

Standing up straight, and proper posture really is as simple as that, requires a skeletal adjustment to allow your thighs to move underneath your pelvis. This sticking out of the buttocks is actually meant to relax these muscles and help us find deeper core muscles to hold us up. We are truly a tight assed people. We grip our butts in tension and frustration, which is a natural reaction but as with everything we tend to over do it. The femur bones falling forward in space results in a constant engagement of the butt and thigh muscles (quadriceps).

When standing the quads and glutes should be working as little as possible to let important core muscles function properly. When we walk the big buttock muscle gluteus maximus works as the back leg extends backwards but it doesn’t or shouldn’t need to hold us up. Butt gripping is one of modern man’s great dilemmas.

The release of the butt goes hand in hand with a shifting of the pelvis. The effects of this shift are far reaching. As the thighs move back and under the pelvis your legs will release differently in walking and you will feel a more even distribution of energy through the foot with every step. The shift of the pelvis into proper alignment accesses the correct curve of your lower back bringing instant support to all the bones of the spine. Your shoulders will lift up and back naturally and the head will find greater support at the top of the spine.

Release your butt and embrace a whole new realm of energetic possibilities when walking and standing.

Walking, The Psoas and The Diaphragm
Three rules of thumb: The Body is a Machine

Originally posted 2011-05-01 05:35:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

  1. Many personal trainers teach to squeeze your glutes to do a proper plank, bridge, and bird dog positions. Here’s an example found randomly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk0sC4-jmHA&feature=related

    Are they wrong with this instruction or are these positions the exceptions to releasing the glutes?

    I would say they’re wrong. We should want energy to travel throughout the body, and locking our joints (the hips, in this case) stops the energy flow.

    • Hi Alredo,

      I watched the video and these are the types of instructions that drive me crazy.The gluteus maximus is an extensor muscle that should lengthen towards the heel. To feel what I mean, lay on your back with the knees bent and the feet flat to the floor. Isometrically drag your heels towards your hip and you should feel your gluteus maximus lengthen. To me, that the action you are always looking for from the gluteus maximus. Squeezing it makes the muscle move in the opposite direction. Glutues minimus and medius are both working in these exercises. They are both internal and external rotators in service of stabilizing the pelvis. You want to engage these muscles but not grip or squeeze them. Subtle work but very important to make the distinction. If you watch on the video in the bridge where he extends his left leg, the right foot rolls to the outside and the inner foot isn’t grounded at all. This indicates to me that he isn’t engaging that whole side properly. As soon as that foot rolls out the inner thigh and both deeper glutes lose their natural ability to work. In the bird dog exercise I don’t think he is working his qglutes the way he thinks he is becuase once the raised leg goes above the hip you are out of the back of the leg. You should feel this exercise in the glute and hamstring not the quads. I feel that when the leg goes over the hips you lose access to the back of the leg and are using the front of the leg. I’m being a little picky and it is just my opinion of course.

  2. But don’t you find many people have inhibited glutes? From sitting, it seems to me that people tend to have tight psoas and weak glutes enforcing each other. And I see lots of lower crossed syndrome/swayback in my yoga classes. I like what you say about engaging without gripping. But I cannot tell these lower cross people to stick out the butt. Seems like it is much more complex to find and maintain the appropriate neutral spine.

    • The idea of sticking the butt out (admittedly not the most subtle instruction) is to help people get their legs under their pelvis’. From my perspective, everyone tucks their pelvis and the most important thing is to find pelvic alignment. I find that people can have very weak glutes that they grip endlessly. In these cases they need to release the glutes before they can strengthen them and I find that they can’t release the glutes without the shift in the pelvis that I refer to as sticking the butt out.

    • It depends on how far out. No one should tuck their pelvis. When you are standing and walking on even ground your butt should be completely relaxed. That’s how far out you should stick it.

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