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Gripping – The Subconscious Pain Generator!

Hold onto your butt’s ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be an inciteful journey into whether your ‘behind’ is doing more work than it needs to, and how this can impact you.


What is gripping?

Gripping involves increasing the tension in your muscles, in this case your gluteus maximus or bottom muscles.

Sometimes people will grip their bottoms when they are standing and not realise they are doing it! There are a number of reasons why their bottom muscles are over-active and in most cases the body will be doing it to keep you upright.

Why is this a problem?

Gripping your bottom all day is not an efficient way to stay upright! These muscles are designed to help us lift and stand up (perform tasks), not work hard all day to keep us stable or to help us stand on the spot. Butt gripping can lead to a wide array of problems involving pain in your neck, shoulders, back, hips, pelvis, knees and ankles.

Do you grip your butt…AKA buns…AKA…glutes?

Is your bottom relaxed or do you feel yourself squeezing it? If you grip your butt, you are putting unnecessary tension on your pelvic floor and hip muscles.

Why am I doing it?

  • You may be gripping as a result of injury. In this case, your body is over activating certain muscles to try and compensate for an injured area.
  • You may have developed the habit over time due to your postures or even your technique with certain exercise activities or an injury you incurred a long time ago.

But wouldn’t using a muscle make it better?

When baking, too much salt can ruin a perfectly good recipe. The same mentality needs to be applied to how you use your body. Normally your body will switch different muscles on and off during a movement, as they are needed. Poor stability strategies (such as gripping your glutes constantly) heighten your chance of injury and also lead to increased compression of your joints which leads to pain.

Take away message – butt gripping does not lead to buns of steel.

How to spot it? Butt first, let me take a selfie

Note: Try looking in a mirror or take a selfie!

P.s Looking at another person’s butt without permission will often get you into strife! Always ask first!

Things you might notice with butt gripping:

  • There are creases where the bottom meets the leg (gluteal fold)
  • The bottom appears flat
  • The bottom looks like it is tucked under
  • It looks like there is more weight going through the toes than the heels – sometimes there will be toe gripping
  • Sway back posture – hips forward, bigger curve in the mid part of your back

Take away message

  • Be aware when you’re doing it – Relax your butt – stop squeezing
  • Breathe
  • Try and think of lengthening your spine and centring your weight over the middle of your feet.
  • Check in with your physiotherapist and see if you have an underlying weakness that is causing you to use this strategy.
    • For example, Weak core, ineffective breathing, pelvic floor weakness, posterior hip weakness, posture, aesthetics (you want the appearance of a smaller butt).

Casey Smith


If you have any questions with regards to this article please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team on 4724 0768 and we will organise a physiotherapist to chat to you.

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