What are the Gluteal Muscles? Well, to start they have a whole host of names from butt, buttocks, buns, derrière, tush etc. Most people see them as the things that either fill your jeans too much or not enough. However I want to get a little bit more scientific about the muscle.
Question – What does the muscle do?
Answer. The Gluteal muscle is made up of three muscles, the Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius and the Gluteus Minimus.
Essentially what they do is help in tasks such as standing, lifting, walking, running etc.
When you stand, they pull so as to help extend your hips and stabilize your pelvis. During running they pull your femur backwards and also provide stabilization of your trunk.
What happens if the muscles are weak?
To read more about glut medius weakness, please read the following blog – http://sbrsport.me/2012/11/25/weak-gluteus-medius-muscles-and-a-chain-reaction/
On the glut maximus side, the muscle is used in activities such as rising from the seated position, lifting, walking and running. In order to compensate for the weakness, other systems of the body often have to work harder thus causing lower back pain, tight iliotibial bands, hip, knee pain such as patella-femoral pain syndrome and foot problems.
The moment a secondary muscle is called in to do the job of a primary muscle you have a problem. The secondary muscle is weaker and less suited to the task at hand and thus is far more prone to overuse injuries. Twenty first century living very often necessitates us to spend long hours sitting in a chair. This shortens the hip flexors (psoas muscle), while the back of the hips (gluteal muscles) become long and weak. As an example, your glut muscles should do most of the work when you need to stand up. Should your glut be weak, muscles in your lower back and upper leg will have to compensate in order to get you up. These are less suited to the task, and are therefore more prone to injury.
I am able to pick up lazy glut muscles during the gait analysis phase of our Runners Leg Assessment. I look for a number of things including the hip dip, angles of the femur during the push off phase e.t.c. I also make use of the prone hip extension test from time to time. You can read more about the assessment at: http://sbrsport.me/2012/09/15/runners-leg-assessment/
How can I get my gluteal muscles functioning correctly? It is difficult to give a summary on this blog as to how to strengthen the muscle. Your gym instructor or pilates instructor is qualified to help you with a program. You can also visit http://www.runnersworld.com/workouts/glute-strength for some ideas as to how to strengthen your glutes.
So, I have tried to approach the topic as scientifically as possible. However we are going to deviate a bit as we near the end of this post with an appeal, make sure you keep it moderately covered. Some sights are just not pleasant.