WAKE UP Sleepy Glutes

WAKE UP Sleepy Glutes (DO THIS)

How to WAKE UP Sleepy Glutes (DO THIS)

Strong, healthy glutes are more essential than you think. They are the primary driver and power source. Yet, sometimes, despite their good health and adequate strength, they fail to perform. The main culprits are sleepy glute muscles.

fix Sleepy Glutes

Sleepy Glutes

Physical therapists refer to strong and healthy glutes that are not firing as "sleepy" glutes; the muscles are not adequately receiving the message from the nerves telling them to contract. This condition is frustrating for runners and gym enthusiasts who dedicate hours to strengthening their glutes in the gym. Fortunately, there is a way to wake up these muscles by activating mechanoreceptors.

Mechanoreceptors are special cells in joints, skin, muscles, and tendons that sense pressure, vibration, tension, and touch. When stimulated, they can elicit a muscle contraction. A perfect example is when the doctor hits your knee tendon with his little hammer, and the quadriceps muscles contract, causing your leg to kick. Below are two proven ways to activate the mechanoreceptors in your glutes. And no, you don't hit yourself with a hammer!


Rub, scratch, or lightly tap your glutes for 10-20 seconds. These muscles take up more real estate than you might think. The Gluteus Maximus, your largest glute, is sketched in red in the drawing above. It starts at the waist and inserts below the top 1/3 on the side of the thigh. The arrow indicates the insertion point. Look how far it is below the orange running shorts.


Move your thigh/hip in all three planes (see bullet points below). You can do these with your foot planted and with the foot off the ground. Perform smoothly with control and within your available range of motion. Avoid stretching or pushing into the outer limits, and do not bounce. Repeat 4-6 times each.

  • Clockwise
  • Counterclockwise
  • Forward and backward
  • Side to side

Poor performance and injury are at risk if strong glutes are "falling asleep" on the run. Use touch and mobilization techniques pre-run and during a run, especially if you feel them disconnect. The slight pause in your workout is worth it!

Two other factors affect the ability of healthy, strong glutes to do their job: a stable platform and hydration.

Image of Stable Platform and Hydration

How do I wake up my butt muscle?

You’ve been sitting all day long and research tells us your waistline is going to pay dearly, but who knew the desk life would also turn off signals to our backsides?

Here are 6 ways to wake up sleepy glutes.

Gluteal amnesia or “dead butt syndrome” is a real thing, and it happens when your glutes forget how to activate correctly. While gluteal amnesia may not cause symptoms early on, having a major muscle group like the glutes not working properly will have effects globally throughout your body as time passes.

Some of these effects include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Muscular imbalances
  • Postural distortion

The exciting news is that gluteal amnesia isn’t permanent if you’re willing to do the work.

Glute Exercise #1: Glute Bridge

This exercise is not only an easy move to begin with for nearly everyone, it also has the benefit of being one of the top exercises to activate the glutes. Start with your body weight and progress to single leg bridges and for advanced trainees, progress to loaded barbell hip thrusts.

Glute Exercise #2: Clam Shell

Start simple on this movement and focus first on “feeling” the glutes. Once you’ve mastered activating the correct area, add some resistance with a band.

Glute Exercise #3: Bird Dog

This “standard” exercise for lower back health can also help wake up the glutes. It’s simple, and everyone can do it, giving themselves 2x the benefit.

Glute Exercise #4: Donkey Kicks

You’ve probably seen these in every Jane Fonda video or they might even bring back memories of your favorite 80’s movie... but they work.

Glute Exercise #5: Squat

About as primal and fundamental as it gets, no lower body development program should be without one or more variations of the squat. Start with developing a good, solid bodyweight version first and scale up the difficulty from there. With so many versions to choose from – goblet squat, split squat, back squat, front squat – you’ll never get bored of doing squats and getting the results you want.

Glute Exercise #6: Deadlift

You might associate deadlifts with something only hardcore gym-goers should be doing, but that’s just not true. At least not if you want to wake up your glutes and strengthen your hamstrings at the same time. Like squatting, there are many variations of the deadlift to keep you occupied, but starting with a simple Bodyweight Romanian Deadlift will do the trick!

When it comes to excessive sitting, driving, and a generally sedentary lifestyle, we’re starting to understand just how potentially devastating it can be to our health. Putting our sleepy glutes into that category may seem laughable, but gluteal amnesia is no joke. Solving the problem will not only make you healthier, but you’ll look and feel better too!

Top 3 FAQs

Does sitting make your butt flat?

Although many people believe that the force of sitting on a chair flattens your buttocks, it doesn't. The reason you may be losing butt shape is because of your hip flexors tightening up. If these tighten up, your gluteus maximus (your buttocks) will encounter movement difficulties making them grow weaker and less toned.

Why don't my glutes get sore?

If you're not sore, that's a telltale sign you're not actually using the appropriate muscles during your workout. "When your glutes are activated, you will feel the muscles tightening and firing."

How long does it take to activate glutes?

Remember you don't need to spend hours doing them, just do three sets working until you feel the burn each time. This doesn't need to take more than 10 minutes. With time and consistency, you WILL start to notice a difference, but initially, it can be a slow and unrewarding process.

How do you tell if my glutes are growing?

As your glutes grow, you'll start to see more definition on your behind (and at the sides of your glutes). You'll notice this definition in particular when you're exercising; this is another good sign that your body is receptive to your workouts, and that your glutes are growing.

Can I work glutes every day?

How often should you do glute activation exercises? When you're sitting a lot in your daily life, it's best to do these exercises every day. If that's not feasible, aim to do them at least two to three times each week.

Should I be squeezing my glutes?

According to a new study published in PeerJ—the Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences, squeezing your glutes for 15 minutes a day can help increase your power, endurance, and strength. Doing glute squeezes each day can also help prevent injury.

How long does it take to lift a saggy bum?

If you're consistent with your workouts, you can start to see results in about 4 to 6 weeks. However, modest muscle growth requires about 6 to 8 weeks of consistent work, and in 6 months to a year, you can change the musculature and body composition of your butt.

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