For our discussion, we’ll discuss the primary movements that the three gluteal muscles participate in. Still, it’s vital to note that different regions of the gluteal muscle fibers can assist with secondary activities that will not be addressed.
There are three different gluteal muscles:
1. Gluteus Maximus
2. Gluteus Medius
3. Gluteus Minimus
Three reasons strong glutes are important
1. Reduce back pain
Your glutes are in charge of hip extension and assist with the reverse movement. The goal is to elevate the chest from the ground while feet are planted, like a deadlift. The glutes are essential for lower back health since they aid with pelvic, hip, and trunk motions. They also assist in good posture by better distributing weight throughout your lower back and lower extremities.
2. Reduce knee pain
Your gluteal muscles create pelvic stability, especially when your lower extremities function in a closed chain. If you twist your ankle, you might have problems at the knee and bigger up the leg. As a result of this excessive force, the thigh can twist and rotate, putting increased pressure on the knee and ankle. Knee discomfort or agony is one potential outcome.
Lateral patellar tracking can occur due to instability at the hip, causing your femur to turn too far inwards (excessive medial rotation) and your kneecap to slip out of place as you bend and extend your leg. It’s known as lateral patellar tracking, and it’s a prominent reason for many people.
3. Increase power and exercise performance
During running, gluteals aid in propulsion by generating powerful hip extension. They are critical for acceleration, jumping, and even heavy lifting. You may become less firm and more inefficient if your gluteal muscles get flaccid. The gluteus minimus and primary medius function move the leg away from the body’s median line. Furthermore, they aid in the stability of our pelvic area, such as when standing on one leg.
The gluteus maximus extends and outwardly rotates the hip. The gluteus maximus can also raise or straighten the knee via the iliotibial tract when the feet are firmly plant on the ground, as in a squatting position.
What Is The Best Way To Strengthen A Weak Gluteus Maximus?
When the gluteal muscles are not functioning properly, we may understand how essential they are when they aren’t working correctly.
Let’s begin by looking at how gluteal muscle malfunctions affect our walking. We may observe someone walking with an uneven or lowered pelvis. For example, if the gluteus medius and minimus are damaged.
When the left gluteus medius and minimus are not working, the pelvis drops to the right while the trunk leans to the left. The body may compensate for the weak gluteus medius and minimus by shifting the weight of our trunk to the injured leg to maintain our equilibrium. As a result, it’s clear that the gluteus medius and minimus function to keep the pelvis in a single leg stance, accounting for 30% of our normal walking cycle.
The gluteus maximus tightens as our heel hits the ground during walking to slow down the forward motion of our trunk and decelerate the swinging leg (which becomes more apparent while running).
We would compensate for a gluteus maximus injury during walking by extending our trunk backward to counteract the forward motion of our trunk.
Furthermore, the gluteus maximus is used while climbing stairs since it is a powerful extender of our hip that aids in propelling us forward.
What Are the Symptoms of a Gluteal Muscle Problem?
Weak gluteal muscles links to a variety of lower-limb problems. If the gluteal contractile ability decreases, other muscles and tissues may compensate, putting them under more stress.
For another, Illiotibial Band Syndrome, also known as runner’s knee, is associated with weak gluteal muscles.
Suppose our gluteal medius and minimus muscles cannot support our pelvic region in a single leg stance. In that case, we may put ourselves at risk of strain through the IT band, leading to discomfort and inflammation over time.
Patellofemoral joint discomfort characterized by irritation of the knee cap is another frequent knee condition that can attribute to insufficient gluteal muscle strength.
Weak gluteal muscles can cause the opposite pelvis to drop. This may lead to a chain of events in the lower limb. The inward rotation of the thigh (femur) and shin (tibia) bone are the chains of events. This will result in a drop arch on one side where the gluteal muscles are weak.
As a result, small changes in our knee biomechanics may introduce abnormalities in the normal function of the knee cap, causing discomfort and irritation over time.
It’s vital to note that there are various factors that can contribute to patellofemoral joint discomfort, and reduced gluteal strength is just one among them.
To summarize, if the gluteals are weak, other muscles or tissues may be overwhelmed in a chain of events, as shown in the above examples.
With runners and sprinters, one last example, it is necessary for them to have an adequate hip extension to move forward.
If the gluteals are unable to perform their function, muscles such as the hamstrings (which may extend the hip to a lesser degree than the glutes) must be used to enhance their contracting output in order to achieve normal hip extension. This may contribute to overused hamstring muscles over time.
The many muscles generate the coordination of movement in our lower limb, and if some muscle contractility ability is lost, other tissues will eventually be overloaded in an attempt to make up for it.