What are signs and symptoms of weak buttock muscles?

What are signs and symptoms of weak buttock muscles?  In a related post we already looked at how inactivity and overly tight quadriceps and hip flexors can inhibit gluteus muscles.

As the buttock muscles are a large, strong and pleasingly hefty muscle group, the most obvious sign of glute weakness is to have a lack of tissue where your bottom should be! It is also common to have a one sided weakness, in which case one buttock cheek will be noticeably smaller. 

Having a sedentary job and disliking exercise, will almost certainly lead to a gluteus weakness. Your bottom muscles obviously don’t contract when you sit on them, and the constant compression of the nerves and blood vessels doesn’t do the muscle any favours.

More functional signs include having trouble with balance (gluteus medius): Examples of this can be that you find  standing on one leg  difficult and your knees may want to go inwards when you squat down.

Moving onto the even less pleasing signs and symptoms: These include ongoing, chronic stiffness or pain that cannot be relieved by extensive stretching, usually in one or several of the following areas:

  • groin
  • hamstrings
  • inner thighs
  • lower back
  • buttock
  • ITB tension (side of leg)
  • knee (patello-femoral pain syndrome)

When a muscle group (in this case the gluteus group) doesn’t perform their role efficiently, adjoining muscles that act as “helpers” (synergists)  to the group are being increasingly activated. In other words, these muscles now have a double role. I guess you could call it a muscular conflict of interest.  As a consequence they become stiff and/or painful and no amount of stretching seems to make any difference.

A common postural fault that deactivates and thus weakens the gluteus muscles is an anterior pelvic tilt. An anterior pelvic tilt is easily detected by turning side on to the mirror. If the curve in your lower back is accentuated and it looks like your bottom is sticking out and your stomach protrudes although you may be very slim, you have an anterior pelvic tilt. This puts the gluteals into a stretched position, meaning that it is much more difficult for them to contract than if they were in a normal anatomical position. An anterior pelvic tilt usually goes hand in hand with tight quadriceps and hip flexors and weak abdominals, so working on these areas is a crucial step toward improving your lower back alignment and thus the function of your glutes.

Want to read more?