It’s All About The Butt.

By David Craggs, Exercise Scientist.

Be it running, swimming, weightlifting, team sports, or general every day human movement patterns the butt plays an integral role in efficient and functional execution of movement.

Let’s start with a little bit of anatomy to help paint a picture of what the butt actually does. The butt, also known as the gluteal group is compromised of the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus, these names tell us a lot already in that the maximus is largest and minimus is smallest.

It can be argued that several other muscles are highly involved in the functioning of the gluteal but for today we will focus on the three previously mentioned.

Gluteus maximus – largest of the three, its fibres are thick and makes up the bulk of the buttock. Its main contribution to movement is thigh extension, thrusting the thigh posteriorly in climbing stairs/running, it also contributes to lateral rotation and abduction of the thigh which helps stabilize the hip joint and the knee.

Gluteus medius – thick muscles largely covered by the glut max, its origin is the external surface of the ilium and it inserts onto the lateral surface of the upper femur (big leg bone). It is a major contributor to hip stability and is a special muscle as its fibres can be divided with the anterior portion causing medial rotation and flexion, and the posterior portion causing lateral rotation and extension.

Gluteus minimus – is the smallest and deepest muscle in the group; it too begins at the external surface of the ilium however attaches to the upper femur and hip joint capsule. This little fella contributes to medial rotation and may assist in flexion of the hip joint.

So now we know what they are, where they are, and what they do, let’s talk about how they affect dynamic and functional movements. As mentioned in the description of individual muscles the gluteal as a group contribute to extension/flexion, and medial/lateral rotation of the hip and thigh, all of these movements are required as soon as we get up and put load on our bodies this load could be as light as gravity itself whilst walking or as heavy as 200kg deadlifts in the gym. Our muscles ability to respond to these externals loads will command how well we perform the movements.
So if we for some reason have weak, hypertonic (over active), tight, or even loose gluteal muscles this can majorly contribute to deficient movement execution in sport or daily human movements. Ways to reduce your chance of having these issues are via specific exercise prescription, specific stretching and hip mobility drills, treatments such as deep tissue massage, or dry needling, and physiotherapy mobilisation, just to name a few.
If you aim to have a full range of motion in your hip joint and full activation and strength of your butt muscles you will be on your way to much greater efficiency be it with your sporting endeavours or just general day to day function which includes the possibility of reducing back, knee, and hip pain which may stem from your dysfunctional butt.

David Craggs

David Craggs

Exercise Scientist

David is the founder of LifeStyle93 Fitness Management located in Port Noarlunga.

He has a keen interest in biomechanics and improving human movement patterns. David uses Olympic lifting exercise along with others, to develop holistic goals & specific training programs for his clients. He has a degree in exercise and sports science.

Contact David T. 0432225807   E. dave@lifestyle93.com.au

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