The Do it All Exercise to Go From Dead Butt to Active Arse

Willow Ryan

Contributor - Yoga, Massage & Bodywork

Portland, Oregon, United States


glutes, glute exercise, butt exercise, sitting exercise, office exerciseDo you consider yourself to be a paper-pushing athlete or a desk jockey? Or do you hold the record for the word’s longest passive squat? If your daily regimen includes multiple hours sitting, here are three exercises to turn the gluteus minus into gluteus maximus. And once you’ve located the proper muscles and done these exercises, you can graduate to the "ultimate dead butt to active arse" exercise.


You can do hundreds of squats and not actively flex the main hip stabilizers or glutes. Really, what needs to happen is location and activation of these muscles. Apply activation and flex these muscles while sitting - anywhere, anytime.



  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Adductor Magnus
  • Hamstrings


Not sure where these muscles are on your body? Start with these preparatory exercises to get acquainted and teach yourself how to activate them consciously. If after doing these exercises you still have a challenging time feeling the muscles, place your hands on them directly and get a sense of where they are and how they move. Using tactile feedback helps your brain connect and map out body parts and increases your conscious awareness of them.


Preparatory Exercise 1: Locate Gluteus Maximus

  1. Stand up
  2. Place your fingers on your sit bones (Latin name: tuber ischiadicum). Contract and hold for 20 seconds, then release. Do 10-15 repetitions per 1 set. Repeat the set for every hour seated.



Preparatory Exercise 2: Locate Adductor Magnus

  1. Sit on a chair
  2. Make a fist and place it between your knees. Squeeze your knees together and hold for 20 seconds, then release. Do 10-15 repetitions per 1 set. Repeat the set for every hour seated.


Peparatory Exercise 3: Locate Hamstrings

  1. Sit on a chair
  2. Extend your legs out, two feet in front of the knees
  3. Dig your heels into floor
  4. Without moving your feet, pull the feet in the direction of the chair, thereby contracting your hamstrings. Hold for 20 seconds, then release. Do 10-15 repetitions per 1 set. Repeat the set for every hour seated.


Now apply your conscious activation of these muscles into this one do-it-all isometric exercise.


Isometric Exercise: Active Squat/Chair Pose

  1. Stand Up
  2. Bend knees until in squat position.
  • Phase 1: Contract gluteus maximus while holding pose for 30 seconds.
  • Phase 2: Contract adductor magnus while holding pose for 30 seconds.
  • Phase 3: Contract hamstrings while holding pose for 30 seconds.
  • Phase 4: Contract gluteus maximus, adductor magnus, and hamstrings simultaneously while holding pose for 30 seconds.


Repeat as necessary to decrease low back tension, hip tightness, and fatigue from prolonged sitting.


Options If You Experience Knee Pain

  • Increase standing height, with knees bent only a few degrees.
  • Squat while leaning against a wall.
  • Squeeze a rolled up towel between knees.
  • Try widening or narrowing feet positions.


Ultimately, the number one, greatest exercise you can do is to consciously and actively flex these muscles. Muscles lose their strength because they aren’t being utilized for their intended purpose. This is also true for human beings. If we don’t feel as though we have a purpose in life, we lose our strength and flexibility. Remember these muscles were a gift for your ability to mobilize – to run, to leap, to move. There is purpose in our body and purpose in our life. Use them both wisely.

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