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7 Moves to Get Rid of Pancake Butt

Published September 28, 2019
Ben Kissam

Written By: Ben Kissam, BS

Ben has a B.S. in Movement and Sports Science and over 7 years Certified Personal Training Experience.

7-moves-to-get-rid-of-pancake-butt
<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@type":"BlogPosting", "headline":"7 Moves to Get Rid of Pancake Butt", "datePublished":"September 28, 2019", "description":"Want a more shapely backside? These 7 bodyweight exercises will help get rid of pancake butt for good.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/09/young-woman-squat-indoor-thumbnail-0249.jpg" }, } ] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">What is Pancake Butt?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">Why Are Weak Glutes Bad?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">The Key to Getting Rid of a Flat Butt</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">7 Exercises to Get Rid of a Flat Butt</a></li> <li><a href="#section5">Getting Rid of Pancake Butt–Wrapping Up</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>It doesn’t matter how hard some people work out their glutes. Age, genetics, and other factors can contribute to having a ‘pancake butt’—another way of saying you have a flat butt.</p> <p>Believe it or not, flat butts are kind of common. This is because many people have a muscle imbalance with their glutes. This muscle imbalance is called <i>quad dominance</i> and means your quads do a lot of the work your glutes and hips should be doing <sup>1</sup>.</p> <p>To change that, add glute exercises to your workouts that target all three muscles in your butt. </p> <p>Here’s why a flat butt and weak glutes aren’t ideal (for both health and appearance reasons), and 7 exercises you can add to your workouts to build a shapely backside.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"What is pancake butt?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"‘Pancake butt’ is perhaps a more ‘fun’ way to say someone has a flat butt.\n\nYou may have a flat butt for a number of reasons: genetics, age, and sedentary jobs or lifestyles all play a role.\n\nBecause you can’t control the first two (genetics and age), we’ll focus on the latter. One example is not exercising and sitting too much can cause a flat butt, also known as ‘dormant butt syndrome.’\n\nDormant butt syndrome means your butt muscles—the glutes—lack strength and likely aren’t active when you do certain exercises like squats or lunges.\n\nAnd besides the aesthetic downside, dormant butt syndrome can lead to pain in your hips, knees, or lower back."}}]}</script> <h2>What is pancake butt?</h2> <p><i>‘Pancake butt’</i> is perhaps a more ‘fun’ way to say someone has a flat butt. </p> <p>You may have a flat butt for a number of reasons: genetics, age, and sedentary jobs or lifestyles all play a role <sup>2</sup>.</p> <p>Because you can’t control the first two (genetics and age), we’ll focus on the latter. One example is not exercising and sitting too much can cause a flat butt, also known as ‘<i>dormant butt syndrome</i> <sup>3</sup>.’ </p> <p>Dormant butt syndrome means your butt muscles—the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/glutes-101-best-exercises-for-your-gluteus-maximus/" rel="noreferrer"><i>glutes</i></a>—lack strength and likely aren’t active when you do certain exercises like squats or lunges.</p> <p>And besides the aesthetic downside, dormant butt syndrome can lead to pain in your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/5-exercises-for-hip-pain" rel="noreferrer">hips</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/3-low-impact-exercises-for-bad-knees" rel="noreferrer">knees</a>, or <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/top-5-exercises-to-strengthen-your-lower-back/" rel="noreferrer">lower back</a><sup>3</sup>.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section2"> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"Why are weak glutes bad?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"Your glutes are part of your posterior chain or the muscles that run down the back of your body. The posterior chain transfers force from your lower body (the calves and hamstrings) up through your core and back.\n\nUnfortunately, many people are what’s called ‘quad dominant.’ This term refers to a common muscle imbalance where the muscles on the front of their body—the quadriceps and hip flexors—bear most of the load while the glutes stay ‘asleep.’\n\nSleeping glutes causes those muscles in the front to get what’s called ‘long-tight.’ They’re forced to overcompensate because the butt muscles aren’t doing their job, which long-term leads to them being stretched out and tense at the same time.\n\nThis is how pain develops: overactive quads and weak glutes cause nearby muscles (like the back) to work differently, sometimes resulting in pain or injury."}}]}</script> <h2>Why are weak glutes bad?</h2> <p>Your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/glutes-101-best-exercises-for-your-gluteus-maximus/" rel="noreferrer">glutes</a> are part of your <i>posterior chain</i> or the muscles that run down the back of your body. The posterior chain transfers force from your lower body (the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-5-best-calf-exercises/" rel="noreferrer">calves</a> and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-3-best-hamstring-workouts/" rel="noreferrer">hamstrings</a>) up through your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/3-core-exercises-for-seniors-to-improve-stability" rel="noreferrer">core</a> and back. </p> <p>Unfortunately, many people are what’s called ‘quad dominant.’ This term refers to a common muscle imbalance where the muscles on the front of their body—the quadriceps and hip flexors—bear most of the load while the glutes stay ‘asleep.’</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/exercise-to-lift-and-tone-your-butt" rel="noreferrer">Sleeping glutes</a> causes those muscles in the front to get what’s called ‘<a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/5-exercises-for-hip-pain" rel="noreferrer">long-tight</a>.’ They’re forced to overcompensate because the butt muscles aren’t doing their job, which long-term leads to them being stretched out and tense at the same time.</p> <p>This is how pain develops: overactive quads and weak glutes cause nearby muscles (like the back) to work differently, sometimes resulting in pain or injury.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/exercsises-for-flat-butt-stretch-woman-park-bench-0249.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/exercsises-for-flat-butt-stretch-woman-park-bench-0249.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/exercsises-for-flat-butt-stretch-woman-park-bench-0249.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/exercsises-for-flat-butt-stretch-woman-park-bench-LR-0249.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="exercsises-for-flat-butt-stretch-woman"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section3"> <h2>The key to getting rid of a flat butt</h2> <p>Getting rid of a flat butt requires two things. First, you must ‘wake up’ your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/glutes-101-best-exercises-for-your-gluteus-maximus/" rel="noreferrer">glute muscles</a>. Second, you’ll want to target your glutes during workouts so you can <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/foolproof-guide-to-building-lean-muscle" rel="noreferrer">add lean muscle</a>.</p> <p>Both steps require glute activation exercises. It might be a few weeks of doing these exercises before you start to feel your butt muscles actually firing—that’s why some of the exercises below recommend doing them slowly. After they ‘wake up’, add reps and volume to start building muscle and adding strength.</p> <p>If there were a third step, leaning out would help give your butt a more shapely appearance. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com" rel="noreferrer">Losing weight</a> helps show off the lean muscle you’ve worked so hard to build.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section4"> <h2>7 exercises to get rid of a flat butt</h2> <p>Add these exercises to your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/how-to-lose-weight-fast-at-home" rel="noreferrer">at-home workouts</a>. Eventually you’ll be rewarded with a rounder, more shapely set of glutes.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-shoulder-bridge-lift-glutes-0249.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-shoulder-bridge-lift-glutes-0249.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-shoulder-bridge-lift-glutes-0249.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-shoulder-bridge-lift-glutes-LR-0249.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="jenny-shoulder-bridge-lift-glutes"> </picture> <h3>1. Shoulder bridge lifts</h3> <p>With your heels flat on the ground and your palms facing the sky, bring your pelvis to the sky. Squeeze your glutes at the top of each rep, pausing briefly, then lower back down.</p> <p>For a more advanced exercise, try one leg shoulder bridge lifts. </p> <ul> <li><b>Glute Activation</b>: Make shoulder bridge lifts an isometric exercise by pausing at the top (see above).</li> <li><b>Butt Workout</b>: Add one-leg shoulder bridge holds to a superset workout. This means doing two exercises back to back without taking a break. Pick an upper body exercise like push-ups to turn it into a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-best-full-body-workout-for-weight-loss/" rel="noreferrer">full-body workout</a>.</li> </ul> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-alternating-reverse-lunges-glutes-0249.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-alternating-reverse-lunges-glutes-0249.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-alternating-reverse-lunges-glutes-0249.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-alternating-reverse-lunges-glutes-LR-0249.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="alternating-reverse-lunges"> </picture> <h3>2. Alternating reverse lunges</h3> <p>Lunges are one of the best <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/6-bodyweight-leg-workout-progressions-you-can" rel="noreferrer">lower body bodyweight exercises</a> you can do. Placing your hands on your hips, bring your leg back and drop one knee to the ground. You can touch the back knee or get as close as possible while keeping an upright torso.</p> <p>At the bottom of the lunge, drive through your heel. Stand back up then repeat on the other side.</p> <ul> <li><b>Glute Activation</b>: Do 3 sets of 6 to 8 lunges (total, not on each side). Do this 2 to 3 times per week.</li> <li><b>Butt Workout</b>: Add alternating reverse lunges to a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you/" rel="noreferrer">high-intensity interval training</a> (HIIT) workout.</li> </ul> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-drinking-bird-glutes-0249.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-drinking-bird-glutes-0249.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-drinking-bird-glutes-0249.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-drinking-bird-glutes-LR-0249.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="jenny-drinking-bird-glutes"> </picture> <h3>3. Drinking birds</h3> <p>Drinking birds are great for waking up the posterior chain muscles. The <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-3-best-hamstring-workouts/" rel="noreferrer">hamstrings</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/best-at-home-exercises-for-lower-back-pain" rel="noreferrer">lower back</a>, and glutes all work together to distribute force through the back of your body.</p> <p>Placing your hands behind your head and your feet shoulder width apart, bend at the hips and kick your butt back towards the wall behind you. To maintain a tight back, think about keeping a ‘proud’ chest. If your chest collapses and your spine looks like a C, straighten it.</p> <ul> <li><b>Glute Activation</b>: Do 3 sets of 10 drinking birds on a slow 10 count. </li> <li><b>Butt Workout</b>: Add drinking birds to a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/circuit-training-for-weight-loss/" rel="noreferrer">circuit workout</a>. Pick 4 other functional fitness <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/27-beginner-bodyweight-exercises-that-get-results" rel="noreferrer">bodyweight exercises</a> and do 3 rounds!</li> </ul> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-curtsey-lunge-glutes-0249.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-curtsey-lunge-glutes-0249.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-curtsey-lunge-glutes-0249.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-curtsey-lunge-glutes-LR-0249.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="jenny-curtsey-lunge-glutes"> </picture> <h3>4. Curtsey lunges</h3> <p>Another <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/6-bodyweight-leg-workout-progressions-you-can" rel="noreferrer">lunge variation</a> that we love, curtsey lunges help you get rid of your flat butt by targeting your glutes. This helps stabilize the hips.</p> <p>From a standing position, step one leg behind you―just like you would with an alternating reverse lunge. The leg that steps back should go behind the other so that your thighs cross and you bend over, like a curtsey.</p> <p>Drive through the heel at the bottom of the lunge and return to a stand. Repeat on the other side.</p> <ul> <li><b>Glute Activation</b>: Do 3 sets of 10 curtsey lunges slowly. Practice and try to increase how far you go down on each rep.</li> <li><b>Butt Workout</b>: Add curtsey lunges to your next <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you/" rel="noreferrer">high-intensity interval training</a> (HIIT) workout. Do 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest with 2 to 3 exercises. Complete 8 rounds of each exercise.</li> </ul> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-clam-shell-glutes-0249.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-clam-shell-glutes-0249.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-clam-shell-glutes-0249.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-clam-shell-glutes-LR-0249.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="jenny-clam-shell-glutes"> </picture> <h3>5. Clam shells</h3> <p>Another lunge variation, clam shells target your <i>gluteus medius</i>, the second biggest muscle in your butt. One study even found clam shells are the best exercise for hip injury prevention <sup>5</sup>. </p> <p>Lying on your side, place one hand behind your head and the other on the floor. With your knees slightly bent, initiate the exercise from your hip, opening up the top leg like a ‘shell.’</p> <p>Go as far up as you can. If you have tight hips, your range of motion on this exercise may be limited. Try to increase it over time.</p> <ul> <li><b>Glute Activation</b>: Do 5 sets of 5 on both legs on a slow 5 count.</li> <li><b>Butt Workout</b>: Superset clam shells with your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/plank-exercises-to-activate-your-core/" rel="noreferrer">favorite plank exercise</a>. Work your core and hips simultaneously!</li> </ul> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-fire-hydrants-glutes-0249.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-fire-hydrants-glutes-0249.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-fire-hydrants-glutes-0249.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-fire-hydrants-glutes-LR-0249.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="jenny-fire-hydrants-glutes"> </picture> <h3>6. Fire hydrants</h3> <p>Start on all fours. With your hands and knees on the floor, lift one leg away from your body at a forty-five-degree angle. Squeeze your glutes and initiate the movement from your hip. Keep your core tight and avoid letting your chin go to the sky (look at the ground instead).</p> <p>Repeat on the other side.</p> <p>If you’re having trouble picturing the exercise, imagine a dog on a walk stopping at a fire hydrant to, well... you know. That should help.</p> <ul> <li><b>Glute Activation</b>: Do 3 sets of 5 fire hydrants on each leg. Try to lift each of your legs up to 90 degrees. Do this 2 to 3 times per week.</li> <li><b>Butt Workout</b>: Add fire hydrants to a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you/" rel="noreferrer">high-intensity interval training</a> (HIIT) workout. </li> </ul> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-squat-low-glutes-0249.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-squat-low-glutes-0249.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-squat-low-glutes-0249.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/jenny-squat-low-glutes-LR-0249.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="jenny-squat-low-glutes"> </picture> <h3>7. Squats (or your favorite variation)</h3> <p>Any types of squats are good for activating your glutes. And since squats are such an effective and versatile activity, you can mix up your sessions by incorporating different types of <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/5-squat-variations-that-will-kick-your-butt" rel="noreferrer">squat variations</a> into your workouts.</p> <p>Use the tips from our <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/step-by-step-guide-on-how-to-do-perfect-squats" rel="noreferrer">perfect squat guide</a> to perfect your form.</p> <ul> <li><b>Glute Activation</b>: Pick a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/5-squat-variations-that-will-kick-your-butt" rel="noreferrer">beginner squat variation</a>. Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 three times per week.</li> <li><b>Butt Workout</b>: Pick a one-leg squat exercise. These may be more advanced, so start slow and build up over time.</li> </ul> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <h2 id="section5">Getting rid of pancake butt–wrapping up</h2> <p>Whether it’s age, genetics, or a muscle imbalance, fixing your flat butt is pretty simple. It takes time and hard work but adding these effective glute exercises into your routine will help wake up your backside.</p> <p>Slowly add reps and sets over time and try to do a few different glute exercises each week. </p> <h3>Resources:</h3> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ironmanmagazine.com/hip-dominant-vs-quad-dominant/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Are You Hip Dominant or Quad Dominant?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.healthline.com/health/flat-butt#1" rel="nofollow noreferrer">How to Fix a Flat Butt</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.npr.org/2016/05/29/479913427/-dormant-butt-syndrome-can-be-a-pain-in-the-knee-hip-and-back" rel="nofollow noreferrer">'Dormant Butt Syndrome' Can Be A Pain In The Knee, Hip And Back</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23160432" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Which exercises target the gluteal muscles</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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