It's time to talk those #gloriousglutes! We all know what those are, right?! Glutes get talked about all the time through a variety of lenses. Let's begin our anatomical break down from the outside in, or superficial to deep. Today we will focus only on Gluteus Maximus and later this month we will look at Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus as well as how they all three work together!
Where is it?
Your Glute Max has some interesting attachments. This large muscle originates along multiple surfaces -- just behind the posterior gluteal line of the ilium which is a land mark along the back of your iliac crest, your lumbodorsal fascia, the lower back side of your sacrum, the side of your coccyx , and the sacrotuberous ligament !! Whew!
Your glorious Glute Max's insertions are just as interesting. Roughly the upper 2/3 of it's fibers (those closest to your waist band) pass over the greater trochantor and insert into the iliotibial band. The lower 1/3 of the glute max are a bit deeper in and insert to the gluteal tuberosity, a raised portion on the lateral edge of your femur bone.
What does it do?
This most superficial Glute does great things!
When our thigh or femur is held still, it brings our pelvis forward and on top of our femur. Think going up stairs or going up front on the chair in the studio! In daily life this happens every time you bend over and lift something off the floor. And SQUATS!
When our pelvis is still, the glute max brings the femur in line with the body. Think swimming legs on the mat or the barrel, holding your legs up in swan on the chair or single leg elephant!
For both of these actions the gluteus maximus is assisted by the hamstrings to create hip extension. A tight psoas or illiacus can make hip extension hard.
**This is a great time to mention while I often explain muscles individually they hardly ever work alone to move your body. I like to give the information to you this way to make it easy to digest. Our muscles are a connected, happy family that need each other to move us through space. This is why balanced strength and mobility are so important among all your groups of muscles!**
Lateral or External Rotation of the Femur
The lower fibers of the Glute Max assist in laterally rotating your leg- aka turning it out. Working with them are your deep six rotators and your quadratus femurs. This happens during clam shells and side lying leg press.
Adduction of the Femur
Adduction is moving your leg towards your midline. Again the lower fibers act on the femur here, drawing it in towards the mid-line of your body and drawing the femur in toward the hip socket. This happens in your back leg as you step forward or lift your leg in swimming legs.
Abduction of the Femur
This talented muscle also moves your femur in the opposite direction. Abduction is moving the femur away from your mid line. The top fibers of the glute max work with the Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus to move your leg out to the side. Think of side lying leg lifts!
Now that you know the many movements the Gluteus Maximus helps create go back and look again at the origin and insertion- sometimes knowing the two together helps you more clearly understand the muscle and how it pulls on your bones!