Luke Stevens a strength & conditioning coach, shares his clinical expertise with us and deals with the often asked question: Glutes not firing?
The answer is yes they are as long as you’re standing! The gluteal region is a general term which highlights an area comprising of 3 muscle structures. The Gluteus Maximus is the biggest muscle in the body (however not always the strongest) hence why problems start to take effect. The Gluteus Medius is slightly smaller and then finally Gluteus Minimus is consequently the smallest. Moreover, their actions (See Table) are very important and sometimes complex within the pelvis. This means if the gluteal is inhibited, lower back pain is a likely consequence.
|Gluteal Maximus Muscle Action||Gluteal Medius Muscle Action||Gluteal Minimus Muscle Action|
|√ Extension of femur√ External rotation of femur
√ Lateral stabilizer of hip/knee
Neuro: inferior gluteal nerve
|√ Hip Abduction√ Hip stabilisation
√ Aids Some Hip Flexion & Internal Rotation (Anterior Part)
√ Aids Some Hip Extension & External Rotation (Posterior Part)
Neuro: superior gluteal nerve L4-S1
|√ Hip Abduction√ Pelvis Stabilisation
√ Aids Little Hip Flexion & Internal Rotation (Anterior Part)
√ Aids Little Hip Extension & External Rotation (Posterior Part)
Neuro: superior gluteal nerve
Starting from the smallest, each gluteal wraps over the other leaving the gluteus maximus sitting on the top. It is seen from the table that such specific movements may become inhibited. This would therefore restrict the functional movement required throughout the day. These movements are completed subconsciously.
Strength and Conditioning builds and restores the muscles ability to actively work again. It uses a series of corrective exercise techniques over a period of time, allowing the adaptation to take place. Below shows the exact protocol advised to undertake in order to start strengthening. (credit: National Academy of Sports Medicine)