“Dumb butt” syndrome

Beginning in the next month or so, I’ll be writing the “Maintenance Plan” column for Running Times. It will cover injury prevention, training issues, all sorts of small things that can make you a better runner.


The first one has to do with “dumb butt” syndrome — a phrase that comes from Dan Bannink, a PT and runner/cyclist in Michigan who really knows his stuff, and is a fun guy to talk to about injuries.


Why call it “dumb butt”? “Because it’s funny!” says Bannink. “And weak muscle activation can be a wiring thing. They don’t fire well because they don’t know better — they don’t communicate with the brain well.”


Is your butt dumb?


Stand on one leg in front of a mirror, with your hands on your hips. Do 10 single-leg squats. Do your hips drop? Does your knee “dive” inside of your foot? If so, it’s time to get stronger — before you get hurt. Weakness in the hips can cause IT band problems, over-pronation, and lots of other problems.


To get stronger, keep practicing your single-leg squats. Do 2×10 — going as far down as you can with good form (hips level, knee over the foot), and when your form starts to break down, stop and come back up.


It’s a great way to get your body running the way it is supposed to and help protect against injury at the same time!