My stomach hit rock bottom as the medical professional spoke with me after my total hip replacement.

He said, “When you received total hip replacement surgery, they took 40 percent of that muscle. The result is that your left buttock will not ever be as strong as it was, nor as firm as your right cheek.”

The largest muscles in my body were important to me for several reasons. For example, supporting a strong abdomen and back, as well as filling out my pants.

My Obsessive Desire for A Firmer Back End

UGH! For years I have exercised and made certain my glutes were a firm fill for my pants. Perhaps I’m a bit obsessed with the idea. Why? My mother, in her aging process, got thoroughly disgusted with her ‘behind.’ She had always been fit and shapely, filling out her ‘britches’ as she would say. Perhaps you can imagine some point in your history that you wanted a firmer back end, regardless of whether you’ve had surgery.

I Was Trying Hard Not to Be a Victim

When I was first told what my left buttocks would NOT do, I was angry. Then I felt very discouraged. The discouragement felt so awful for several hours but I decided that it was not where I was going to invest my life energy. Staying in either an angry or discouraged mode would make me miserable. I would become a victim.

That got nixed when I realized I was wasting my precious time, energy, thoughts, feelings and intentions. There are more examples of switching choice channels to reduce self-victimization in my self-help memoir.

“STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!” My inner voice was screaming at me. For a short period of time I had abandoned my will power. I wanted it all back. My strength, my will power, my firm butt! Maybe you have experienced giving up or feeling discouraged with your glutes or other body areas as you age. It’s not fun.

I Was Determined Not to Inherit the Droopy Derriere Syndrome

“NO ONE WILL TELL ME WHAT MY BUTT CAN OR CAN’T DO!” The epiphany came from inside me. I had sworn to myself when Mom was alive that I would not inherit the droopy derriere syndrome (DDS). This hip surgery was not going to take that away. Even if medical personnel said it would.

I Found a Physical Therapist Savvy with Glute Firmness

I made the decision to have equally firm glutes on the right and the left sides. Ironically and serendipitously, a new physical therapist was assigned to me who was very savvy with glute firmness. He instructed me how to prevent rear end dropsy and build a strong back bumper. It required a lot of work and self-discipline. I didn’t care. I knew what I wanted and would do whatever it would took to get it.

Step ‘n Flex – Learning the Art of Tightening Each Cheek with Every Step

Since I just had just had total hip replacement surgery, I was walking very slowly with a walker. The physical therapist told me to tighten each cheek with every step I took. So, stepping forward with my right leg, I thoroughly tightened the right cheek; left foot forward, left surgical cheek tensed. Cheek released from right side when left side was putting foot down flexing its respective cheek.

Knowing I was doing droop prevention brought a huge smile and the greatest satisfaction to me. Step ‘n flex, step ‘n flex. In the mornings before getting out of bed I did the Morning Wake Up Flex. I dedicated the exercises to my Mom. You can easily do these flexing exercises if you are wanting more firmness.

Flexing, Flying and Having Fun

Janai on the beachI began doing pool therapy and flexed in water. Six weeks post-surgery I went to Ixtapa, Mexico to do sand walking for more strengthening. I took some of my costume wings to see what it would be like to be a bird. I flew with the thermals along the shore and flexed while flying. Fun makes a big dent in rigorous times of self-discipline requirements.

Making Music with My Glutes

Time passed. Glutes strengthened within two months. After leaving the hospital I was assigned a new physical therapist who said she’d never seen such a strong, firm butt post hip surgery!

I was also doing extra credit for my program. It was fun to choose a simple song like “You are my sunshine.” As I sang, I imagined that each side of my glutes were the notes. Flex once or twice on one side with the notes of the songs, then switch. Back and forth, back and forth. It was like I was playing a piano or an instrument behind me. Some lyrics required twin flexing. Totally silly but I really gained great control and built a butt that fills out my pants on both sides equally!

Singing glutes are a fun way to maintain strength while washing dishes or even driving. I avoid doing it in public while standing in a grocery line because it could be disconcerting to anyone behind me. If you’d like to see my live demonstration of the Glute Flex perks to a portion of “You are my Sunshine,” go to this link.

Do you do any specific exercises to keep a firm set of glutes? Do you like your derriere just the way it is? Have you had a hip replacement? What advice do you have for other women who are considering hip replacement surgery? Please join the conversation below.

Janai MestrovichJanai Mestrovich aka “Grandma Boom” is a 40-year pioneer of kids’ television programming. She is an international speaker and the author of 7 books, including a self-help memoir, endorsed by Doris Day. Janai is a retired instructor with the University of Oregon who now helps older adults to find their creativity and engage with their passions. She is a proudly outrageous grandmother. You can read more about her work at Grandma Boom.

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