Pure Physio Blog

Do You Understand Your Glutes?

Published on
01 Dec 2014

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You have no doubt heard about your gluteals but did you know that they are a group of muscles that each has a different role? Or how important they are in providing support to the lower back and pelvis, and movement and stability at the hip joint?

For a lot of us, our gluteals just provide cushioning for sitting at our desks!  Do you experience any problems at your back, pelvis or hips?  Have you suffered from recurrent hamstring issues?  Take a moment to consider your gluteal muscles…

The muscles around the hips and pelvis have to work closely as a team to provide normal and efficient movement patterns, and prevent the occurrence of injury.  It is an intricate network of muscles, each with a specific role to play. There are small, deep muscles called the deep hip rotators.  These are similar to the rotator cuff of the shoulder, provide stability to the ball and socket joint of the hip.  Then, to the side of the hip are the gluteus medius and minimus muscles that help keep the pelvis level when you stand on one leg.  Finally there is the main bulk of your buttocks, the gluteus maximus; a large powerful muscle that extends the hip.

Injury and poor sporting performance are seen when there are deficits or dysfunctions in one or more of these muscles. If the muscles are too long or too short, they cannot contract efficiently.  Likewise the specific moment in time in which these muscles activate or engage is vital to prevent overload of the low back and hamstring muscles, thus preventing injury to these areas.  Strength and endurance equal to the demands of the activity you are performing such as running, cycling, or taking the stairs, is necessary to prevent injury or compensation at other joints or muscles.

Laura from the Pure Team has a small and simple test to see if your gluteal muscles are in fact missing in action!

Take a moment to try this test…

Place your hands on your buttocks and contract your muscles by squeezing your gluteals.  Squeeze and relax a few times.  Can you feel the muscles tighten and relax?  Is it easy to do?  Now try the right side only. Then the left side only.

Are you able to squeeze and relax one side at a time?  Can you keep alternating one side at a time?  Is it easy to do… without the other side joining in?

The team at Pure are experienced in the treatment of injuries involving poor gluteal function, as well as offering both manual therapy and remedial massage to assist in soft tissue release work to facilitate better glute use!

So if you do suffer from back, pelvis, hip or hamstring problems perhaps your gluteals need to be assessed, and a plan or program created to help retrain, strengthen and stretch these very important muscles!!


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