The Gluteus Maximus is the largest single muscle in the human body. This muscle provides hip extension and plays an important role in pelvic and spinal stabilisation.
Co-contraction of the gluteus maximus with the psoas major (hip flexor) contributes to lumbosacral stabilisation and provides stability to the sacroiliac joint (SI joint). Excess movement at the SI joint can compromise the L5-S1 intervertebral joints and disc and could lead to SI joint dysfunction and pain.
It is a probable theory that through evolution the gluteus maximus enlarged in humans as a means to stabilise the trunk while standing and to counteract the high impact forces that tend to flex the trunk anteriorly during running and sprinting.
From a biomechanics point of view having a stable and strong gluteus maximus along with efficient activation during movement, the following benefits may be experienced:
⁃ Greater stability and balance which will lead to less falls especially in the elderly.
⁃ Promotion of effective motor pattern skills to be able to stand upright, walk, bend forward and squat down to achieve everyday tasks.
⁃ Prevention of common injuries due to muscle compensation patterns.
⁃ Improvement of your capacity to run faster, play sports and execute your physical hobbies/interests.
In today’s society the vast majority of our lifestyle revolves around sitting and unfortunately, this can inhibit and delay the activation of the gluteus maximus. In time this may lead to weakness of this muscle and result in the hamstring, psoas, and lower back compensation.
Unfortunately, some people have engraved such strong compensation patterns to avoid efficient activation of this muscle. This inhibits them from using the gluteus maximus and makes them more prone to injuries/wear and tear when they perform tasks such as standing, walking, and bending forward.
Let’s break the pattern!