Sleeping Butt Syndrome – When your buttocks shut down

I am writing this post while working on a standing desk and that’s for a good reason: Otherwise I would worry that my buttocks fall asleep. That’s possible? Yes, indeed and it’s not all that uncommon. Even fit and sporty people are affected more and more often. But what is the Sleeping Butt Syndrome all about? In this blogpost I will give you not just answers to that, but also tell you what to do about it. Let’s go!

Sleeping Butt Syndrome – What is this actually?

The Sleeping Butt Syndrome is also known as gluteal amnesia or speaking simple: weak gluteal muscles. In a world where a sitting epidemic rages this problem becomes more and more common. It can be assumed that a lot of problems concerning the back, hips and knees are connected to weak and not properly working gluteal muscles, respectively. As a result, the buttocks are falling asleep due to a lack of activation. In this regard, falling asleep does not mean tingling like usually known from hands or feet, but rather switching off of muscles in the butt that are not active. And the gluteal muscles remain inactive even when we are not sitting anymore.

What causes the Sleeping Butt Syndrome?

When we spend a lot of time sitting there are basically two things happening in our gluteal muscles: The first thing is that nothing happens, since we don’t need our gluteal muscles for sitting down at all. They are just not activated; they are not tightened or are doing anything. We can be lucky enough if we can use them as cushion but even for that would do fat a better job. The second thing happening in our gluteal muscle when we sit down for a while is that blood flow becomes quite bad. Sure, when everything is squeezed together it will be hard for anything to flow through it. As a result gluteal muscles will shut down and it will be hard to wake them up, even when they are truly needed.

In addition, people who sit a lot often have shortened and tight hip flexors. These refer to muscles and tendons that are the exact opponent to gluteal muscles. While the latter erect our body when activated, hip flexors do the opposite. When we sit a lot these hip flexors become tight and shorten in the long term with the consequence that gluteal muscles are more stretched than usual. This circumstance makes it even harder to maintain muscle tone in the buttocks which is essential for a nice shaped booty and easy to activate muscles.

That’s not without consequences

Finally, the Sleeping Butt Syndrome causes not just a flat booty, but can produce real health problems as well. As our gluteal muscles are crucial to a good and upright posture. Just image our body as a hinge joint. Both halves of our body are connected by the hip and gluteal muscles are responsible for opening the joint, that means for erect our body. If these muscles are not working properly anymore there are unskilled assistants trying to do the job. These are our lower back and the back of our thighs. However, in the long run these muscles are simply overstrained. The results? Bad posture, postural deformities, pains in the lower back, hips and even knees.

By the way

The Sleeping Butt Syndrome can also be promoted by sleeping in foetus position that is, rolled up with knees drawn to your chest as well by ineffective workout. For instance, there are a number of women doing strength training aiming at a bigger and firmer bum and even though they have chosen the right exercises and weight they don’t get the effects wanted. Why is that? – Because they are doing exercises like squats or deadlifts foremost by activating their thighs and lower back. They use their gluteal muscles only supportively, while they actually should do the main work during these exercises. Of course, ineffective workout is also a consequence of Sleeping Butt Syndrome. Thus, here are some tips how you can prevent or tackle a Sleeping Butt Syndrome.


What to do about it?
  • If you spend a lot of time sitting, you should get some activity breaks in between. It is even enough to walk around a bit or do some exercises to activate your glutes.
  • For desk bound jobs working on a standing desk from time to time can also help to reduce sitting time. While standing you need your gluteal muscles to stay straight.
  • Specific exercises targeting your gluteal muscles make sense as well. For example squats, deadlifts, lunges or bridges. Keep in mind to intentionally engage your glutes more than your thighs.
  • In addition, a targeted warm-up can help to engage your gluteal muscles in a workout. Try to activate your glutes with low-intensity exercises beforehand.
  • To counteract shortened and tight hip flexors you should do some targeted stretching exercises.


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