Tag Archives: injuries

Side Butt


Wait! Before you run away. Listen to what I have to say.

Writers are inspired by what they are feeling in the “now”. And right now, I’m feeling very sore in my gluteus medius region a.k.a. the “side butt”.

One way we can divide human movement is in unilateral and multilateral movement. These aren’t exclusive of one another, but they are generalities useful for discussion.

Unilateral Movements (mostly)

  • road or track running
  • bicycling
  • most resistance lifting (Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, CrossFit, …)
  • other cardio (elliptical exerciser, rowing, …)

Multilateral movements

  • most sports (basketball, soccer, baseball, racquet sports, …)
  • trail running
  • yoga

I point these out because, for one, we may be deficient in our side butt muscles. Any time we have a deficiency, we compensate in other areas and this can lead to long-term problems and injuries. Secondly, if we do movements or sports that use side glutes, then it makes sense to strengthen them more.

There are numerous exercises that are commonly used to target the side glutes. Side leg raises either free or with cables/bands and side-wards running or bounding. These are great dynamic movements, but isometric and isotonic contraction that focuses on weight bearing may be more effective (which we do in yoga).

Yesterday, I spent a considerable amount of time in Warrior 3, dancer, side angle, and triangle poses. These are all incredible side butt poses, but the most incredible may be half moon (ardha chandrasana). Warrior 1 & 2 and many other poses target side glutes as well. I may be biased, but there is no better builder of side glute muscles than yoga.


Pictured 1) gluteus maximus (posterior view), 2) gluteus medius, 3) gluteus minimus.

Muscles 2 & 3 help abduct the femur (leg opening) from your central axis. This helps stabilize the hip joint and adds considerable stability in movement. If you do squats and your knees turn inward, these are the muscles that help keep you knees in line with your feet. Its a major weakness in many novice and women lifters. Outer hip strength helps prevent injuries like hip dislocations and even knee and ankle trauma. It can also add fullness to your appearance in jeans or even a bikini (oh my!)

I never recommend that you do one pose for a bodypart or for a specific sport. There are no quick fixes. So I always say:

All yoga is good yoga

Our bodies are interconnected. And when you do yoga, it encompasses every little muscle of your body plus breath, balance, and mind. When you do Warrior poses, think about strength as you press into your feet. This engages those side glute muscles. And spend plenty of time in half moon pose as well.


(yours truly doing a half-moon in the urban jungle)



I had the privilege of helping someone in yoga class last night. I was teaching Ashtanga for Beginners. The title is somewhat of a misnomer because if you only see “Beginners” and not “Ashtanga”, you’d think it was accessible to everyone. We workshop postures and show how to modify, but it really isn’t very easy.

We had just attempted headstands and most didn’t invert. Instead, many did a modified downward facing dog with hands and head in headstand position. The counter pose to all inversions except shoulder stand is child’s pose. One person had her hips up fairly high, so I had her adjust her knees and I applied light pressure to her hips. She popped up and made me aware of previous back surgeries. I thanked her for telling me and gingerly assisted her.

After class, I sat next to her and asked “tell me about your back?” And she did. And then I shared about my back and its history of pain. My pain was in the exact same location with sciatic nerve pain and the works. Hopefully, my empathy went a long way toward her seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I told her how I had trouble tying my shoes and when I could only drive with my left foot since my right leg was in such terrible sciatic pain. Sharing is good. And communicating with students that they aren’t alone. They don’t have to feel ostracized for what they see as deficiencies.

Today, I feel privileged for the numerous injuries and pains I’ve felt through my many decades of life. I still have many weaknesses and I fear drifting back into that pain that is always lurking in the shadows. I know that any weird and sudden twist can leave me bedridden for months. I keep this in mind when my students are struggling. I have the privilege of being there and can empathize with their pain. Decades of ultra-marathons, carrying 110 pound rucksacks in the Army, getting cranked daily as a wrestler, and a long life full of woes. It’s my privilege to share and understand.

We are all on a journey. There is no beginning or end. There is only now.