Your butt. Let’s just throw that word out there. It’s kind of a strange word isn’t it? It just sounds ridiculous. (Ridonkulous? Ridonkadonulous? I don’t need you to laugh at my jokes. I laugh at my own jokes.) It’s the posterior part of your body comprised of three gluteal muscles. (There are other muscles and structures in there as well, but we’re focusing on these ones in particular.) It’s also a personal, very private part of the body for some people, and touching it is a bit inappropriate.
If you’re one of those people, that’s fine. You don’t have to let anyone touch your butt. But (pun intended) you should totally let your massage therapist touch your butt, in a therapeutic way of course. DO NOT let your massage therapist put her hand on your butt and hold it there for an extended period of time. That’s weird.
You have three gluteal muscles: the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and the gluteus maximus. Maximus is the largest muscle in your body. It’s function is to extend the thigh and rotate it laterally, while the medius and minimus abduct the thigh and rotate it medially. Your glutes are a very large and important muscle group in your body. You’re constantly using them. Although right now, you’re probably sitting on them. That’s okay. You can work them out later. And you should, because excessive sitting can cause poor posture and low back pain, which can be avoided with some squats, lunges, and of course, massage.
The gluteus maximus makes the shape of your butt, but (there’s that pun again!) all three glutes work together to give you stability when you’re upright, give you some oomph when you push off the ground as you walk, and provide you with balance so you don’t topple over onto your face. Now that I think of it, I don’t think mine work correctly.
When your glutes are weak or injured, you rely more on your hamstrings, which were NOT built as formidably as your glutes. Don’t get me wrong, your hamstrings are pretty cool too, but you can’t expect them to carry the whole work load. Your body is not an office job where only half of the employees actually do work. Adding extra strain to your hamstrings can cause injury not only to the muscles, but the joints and ligaments surrounding them. (i.e. the knees!)
When your glutes are tight, they can put pressure on your sciatica, a nerve that begins at your sacrum and runs down your leg. That means that tight glutes can cause pain down your entire leg. Ouch!
The obvious question now is how do you relieve tension and strengthen your glutes? The answer to everything is chocolate. However, if you want something more effective, try letting your massage therapist massage them. Work over the glutes doesn’t have to be under the sheet, meaning that the therapist never actually has to see your badonkadonk. Of course, you can request to have work done under the sheet, if both you and your therapist are comfortable with it. Next time you get a massage, talk to your therapist about it.
So just to recap: your glutes are important. Treat them well!
Cover image ©Pearson Education Inc.