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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pancake Butt

Yep, you read that right.  Pancake Butt.  For the record, this is a nickname I gave to myself, not one I am hoping others will latch onto.  So why write a blog post about it, then?  Putting it out there for all of the internet world to read?  Well, because I'm hoping that maybe it will shed some light for you on the way that you are holding your own body.  Maybe you will have an "aha" moment the way that I did.

Let me tell you a little about my Pancake Butt.

For as long as I can remember, I have been frustrated with my flat flimsy back side.  I would watch J. Lo and Beyonce shake their booties and be totally envious.  I would literally think to myself - I want a butt!  We all know what it's like to be perpetually on the hunt for "good butt jeans" hoping to find a pair that accentuates the positive back there (while eliminating the negative, of course), but for me there really was no pair of jeans that could do the job.  I needed to make my own good butt!  I needed to build some muscles back there.  In order to do that though I would have to take a closer look at why I didn't have much of a butt in the first place, and the answer to that question lies in my poor postural habits.

We all have areas of imbalance and weakness and for me this resides in the good ole' glute muscles.  Mine just aren't that strong, but it isn't their fault.  Part of this is genetics, sure, but a much bigger part of the problem is the way I have habitually stood and carried my body for years and years and years.  I have had a tendency to exaggerate a posterior tilt of my pelvis, tucking those gluteal muscles under and as a result putting strain on my lower back and not allowing my glute muscles to fully develop or do any of the work.  It's not pretty ...

Pancake Butt.
Do you see how horribly out of alignment this is?  Just looking at this makes me cringe.  My butt is flat as a pancake because my tailbone is tucked under as my pelvis tilts too far to the posterior.  This is how I used to stand pretty much all the time.  I never really paid much attention to the fact that my pelvis wasn't neutral (had no idea) - until lower back pain and SI joint issues started to develop.  That was not fun, let me tell you.

Then I found Pilates and it changed my life.  The exercises themselves are incredibly helpful and have taught me to be more self-aware and to move more mindfully no matter what I am doing - whether it be standing in line at the grocery store, emptying the dishwasher, running a marathon or putting my baby down for a nap in his crib.

The way we hold our bodies matters.  It makes a difference.  Trust me.  Take it from someone who used to call herself Pancake Butt, okay?

With a little focus and self awareness and a tilt of the pelvis to neutral, my Pancake Butt disappears:

Hello there, Butt!  Nice to see you!
I still have a lot of work to do to develop my glute muscles to their full potential.  Right now I have a set of exercises I am doing every day to strengthen them and increase flexibility in my hamstrings.  My goal is to turn my Pancake Butt into a Power Butt - so I can be a stronger runner, protect my lower back from any future issues and, admittedly, fill out those jeans just a little more.

Tell me ... How are you holding your body right now, as you read this?  Are your shoulders tense?  Is your tailbone tucked?  Is your pelvis tilting one way or the other?  Do you know where your imbalances are (we ALL have them!)?  What are you doing to correct them?


10 comments:

I think you'd mostly like the alignedandwell.com blog. She has great posts about body alignment and I found her when looking into pelvic floor stuff. Fair warning - she's pro-walking and anti-running, but if you can look past that I think you'd really like her posts.

Oh, you don't want to know. I'm such a sloucher... definitely need to work on better posture! But I have found that since doing more strength training the last 2 years, I now also have a butt. :)

Oh, and you don't even want to know how bad my alignment is right now as I'm slouched on the couch breastfeeding Becca -- and my back hurts as I do so.

OH man. I seriously could have written this exact post a few months ago. I went to go get my gait analyzed by the PT here, and left her office TWO hours later with not only a new running gait to concentrate on, but a whole new posture! It takes serious work - all those years of crappy standing/walking takes time to fix.

I definitely try to re-align myself, and am getting better at it - in fact, I'll know when I slipped up; my body is all out of sorts.

Right now I'm super laid back - literally. Reclined on the couch during the kiddo's nap time. ;)

My shoulders were TOTALLY tight as I was reading, and I'm definitely slumping into my habitual "computer posture." Ugh. I really do want to try Pilates--I just can't find a class that fits my schedule, and it's not something I want to try to learn from a DVD. I want a good teacher.

BTW, I tagged you in my 11 Things post. If these chain mail things annoy you, please ignore it, but otherwise I'm psyched to read your answers!

P.S. I have a pancake butt for sure. Sigh. More room for improvement, right?

What a difference in posture and appearance. Wow! You're being so smart strengthening all the imbalances. Helps so much!!! I wish I were there to take one of your Pilates classes too.

Thanks so much for all of your kind words on my marathon posts. I am so excited to follow you now. I see big, big things in store for your spring marathon. You're going to NAIL IT. I just know it!

I slouch and my shoulder slump forward from years of sitting and working at a computer. It's gotten worse since I've started working from home which means working at a desk that doesn't quite fit me or else on the couch or at the dining table - all not idea. I've been working really hard to be more conscious of my posture, pulling my shoulders blades down and back to open up my chest and strengthening my back muscles. It's hard work!

Allan fusses at me all the time for slouching. I've got to be conscious of my posture!

I wish I had your problem of a flat backside. I hate my behind and posture is not my problem. Sigh. :)

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