Back seat problem

Engsiong Tan
3 min readDec 1, 2022

Learn new things that hurt

I used to do bodybuilding. Not because I like looking at my body in the mirror but I found out that the bigger I was, the less likely people will try to pick a fight with me. Then I discover that my genes did not turn me in to Hulk but that that is another story.

What I did learnt was different ways to exercise. No fancy machines? Stack some weights on a barbell and do squats. No gym? Calisthenics. Or find ways to use gravity as a tool. No space to move? Isometrics.

Photo by Sebastian Pociecha on Unsplash

But that was about two decades ago. In the meantime, my body has started to experiment with atrophy. Last week, I nearly fell when my knee gave way. The strange thing was that I was just walking. In the office on a flat floor. I was not carrying anything. I was not even tired.

Over the weekend, I tried to push my lower body to the limit. Most accurately, I was testing my knees to the limit but the knees require the other muscles to be stress tested. It was legs day and I expected a ton of pain. Legs day means problem walking the next day.

Old dog new trick

As I was older (and hopefully wiser), I found a new problem. The muscles that I expected to hurt did not hurt. The quads and calves were fine. The flat feet also did not give me any grief. I push my legs to the limit without the knee having any issues. There was no noise or pain. This was not a surprise as my knees never hurt when I am at the doctor or exercising. Before you think I am bragging, I need to point out the rest of the joints like elbows and shoulders are more cosmopolitan and love to make an entrance when company is present.

The issue was that after the exercise, I still wanted my legs to get an airing so I went for a gentle hike. The route was as flat as a pond. Or so I thought until my sorry behind was at the foot of the hill. Or at bottom of the stairs. I tried to jog up my first flight of stairs. This is when my glutes made their feelings heard. By hurting.

It was a strange sensation because the muscle soreness usually occurs when you use the muscle. I had not for the life of me knew what the muscle in the butt did. I knew about their existence but I felt that they were like the heart muscle. Out of mind and out of sight. After my intense leg exercise, I knew that my quads were tired. But my butt kept mum. I felt that my glutes did squat (Pun intended) during the exercise session. They have always functioned as shock absorbers. They maybe as a flat as a pancake but they did have my back.

Pain in the bottom

Even when I tried to favour the other muscles, I found that I was in a world of butthurt. I could take baby steps up a slope but the stairs were a tower of trouble. I felt pathetic overtaken by retirees. I was even overtaken by a few people eating and walking.

The fact that I made it back to the keyboard meant that the pain was not activity stopping. But I was composing this article during each step that I took. The act of drafting this article helped take my mind off the pain.