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Help stamp out pikelet bottom

Three years ago I wrote a post asking ‘Does your bottom look like a pikelet?’ The importance of keeping a strong bottom as we get older is one of those messages that can’t be reiterated too often.

The ‘pikelet bottom’ was coined by Sydney-based physiotherapist Anna-Louise Bouvier to describe bottoms that instead of being firm and round like a peach, become weak, flat and out of shape. 

The problem isn’t about how we look from the back though; it’s that if our bottoms aren’t the power-centres they’re meant to be we can end up with a range of lower-body problems. 

Post-menopausal women often suffer from chronic pain on the outside of the hip, caused by gluteal (bottom) weakness. One estimate is that it affects almost 25% of us.

That kind of pain can make it hard to both sleep and exercise.

As a reminder, here are five ways to a better, stronger bottom: 

One, stand squarely on two legs. Don't slump and lean on one hip.

Two, avoid sitting with your legs crossed at the knees because it puts your deep gluteal muscles, tendons and nerves on stretch. Too much sitting in general also compresses them. All of this can switch off and weaken your muscles or irritate tendons and nerves. (Women who are prone to bottom and hip issues, and who sleep on their sides, can find it helpful to sleep with a pillow between their knees to stop the top leg falling forward.)

Three, when you walk, lead with your heels to activate your bottom. If you walk for exercise, include hills to make your bottom work.

Four, stair climbing does the same. Push through your toes and keep your chest up and shoulders back, rather than dragging yourself up with your hands on the rail. 

Five, do exercises that strengthen and stabilise your bottom. These can include versions of squatting, lunging and dead lifting that match your capacity, pelvic bridging (lie on your back, squeeze your buttocks, roll your hips up off the ground, then roll back again), clam-style exercises and Pilates reformer work. Samba dancing is also great for bottoms.

Anna-Louise talks about 'hovers'. Hover above a toilet seat or chair and do 10 little squats. When you have to sit for long periods, break it up with a set of those, or go for a short bottom-activating walk.

To reinforce the message, here she is talking about 'dormant bottom syndrome'. Dormant bottoms become pikelet bottoms.

Since my collection of pikelet bottom photos is a bit lean, I’ve used one of a famous flat bottom, even though its owner is a long way from being post-menopausal.

It’s also a good example of bad posture. Thank you, Taylor Swift. 

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Monday, September 24, 2018 | Rhonda Anderson