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The Role of the Gluteus Muscles

By Emily Lindholm

Let's talk about the gluteus muscles.  First of all, something you may not know is that the gluteus maximus happens to be the strongest muscle in the body.  The gluteus muscle group also happens to be the most ignored muscle group in the body, especially in this day of age with all the sitting at desks and staring at screens.  Don't forget about this ever-so-important muscle group and learn about the functionality of this vital team of muscles, and if you have any questions, your local chiropractor can be a great resource on these and other matters.  

Superficial Abductors and Extenders

This muscle group includes a group of large muscles that abduct the femur, meaning that they open the legs at the hip.  They also extend the femur, moving the leg front and back.  This muscle group includes the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and tensor fascia lata. 

Gluteus maximus - The gluteus maximus plays an important role in keeping us upright.  You could say that it aids in our posture.  It also helps us stand up and climb stairs.  Its specific function is to be responsible for the movement of the hip and thigh.  

Gluteus medius - This muscle is essential for rotation of the legs at the hip and also secures the pelvis.  If you find your pelvis has the tendency to rotate slightly, work on strengthening your gluteus medius, as well as your gluteus minimus.  

Gluteus minimus - This is the smallest of the gluteus muscles, hence the name.  It has a similar function to the gluteus medius, securing the pelvis, but it also helps to abduct the legs at the hip.  

Tensor fascia lata - This is a small muscle that assists the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus in abducting the legs at the hip and inwardly rotating the legs at the hip.  

The Deeper Muscles of the Gluteus Region

Now the deeper muscles of the gluteus group are highly important, as they are the muscles that support all of the functions of the larger gluteus muscles.  These include the piriformis, the gemelli, and the quadratus femoris.  The general function of these muscles is to stabilize the hip joint, and they also work for lateral rotation.  These muscles are very strong in dancers, skiers, ice skaters, and gymnasts, to name a few.

How to Strengthen the Glutes

Now that you have the information on the functionality of the glute muscles, you can see the ways that these muscles all function and work together as a group. To keep these muscles strong, focus on activities such as stairs, long walks, and squats.  Having strong glutes will help you avoid back pain later on down the line and avoid a misaligned pelvis.  If you feel that your pelvis is misaligned or you aren't sure, a chiropractor can help.  

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint in Columbus, Ohio.

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