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The essential guide to your glutes!


What are the glutes?

Your Gluteus Maximus (glute max) is the largest of the three gluteal muscles and is considered to be the strongest muscle in the human body. It inserts into the Iliotibial Band (ITB) and an area of the Femur known as the gluteal tuberosity.

Primarily its action is to extend and laterally rotate the hip; especially when climbing stairs, running or standing from a seated position. To achieve this the glute max co-activates with the hamstrings and the erector spinae muscles of the lower back.


How does the glute work with the other muscles?

Ideally, your glutes will work with the rest of the muscles in the following order:

  1. Gluteus Maximus
  2. Hamstrings
  3. Contralateral erector spinae
  4. Ipsilateral erector spine

What causes weak glutes?

If you sit for extended periods or take part in sports that may be quad dominant, such as cycling, it can lead to chronically tight and over-active hip flexors which deactivate the glutes. This in turn disrupts the muscle firing sequence resulting in pain and dysfunction. Not good!

What is the impact of weak or inhibited gluteal muscles?

Weak or inhibited gluteal muscles can have a huge amount of impact on the rest of the body, such as:

  • Low back pain which can be caused by overcompensation of the erector spinae muscles
  • An increased risk of SIJ inflammation as the glute max has an important function in stabilising the Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ) so weakness or misfiring increases the risk of inflammation and injury
  • Hamstring strain: During the gait cycle the hamstrings will compensate and remain active predisposing them to strain
  • Overactive hamstrings can result in low back pain, tight Iliotibial Bands (ITB syndrome) and patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner’s knee)
  • Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis due to medial deviation of the knee and increased pronation

Some glute fibres attach onto the thoracolumbar fascia; a thick band of connective tissue in the lower back. Another muscle that connects onto this fascia is the latssimus dorsi (lats) muscle. The lats have attachments on the lower ribs, shoulder blade and upper arm. Therefore, misfiring alters biomechanics affecting other structures in the body.

thoracolumberfasciaWhat can you do to help?

To avoid injury, make sure that you perform functional exercises to improve the muscle firing sequence and strengthen the glutes, in combination with stretching and foam rolling.
If you are experiencing any issues it is always advisable to see a Professional – to make an appointment with one of our Therapists, just call the Clinic on 01483 533133.