Cigarette butts are all the rage these days: on TV, in magazines and behind retail store windows.
And thanks to social media, we know exactly what the muscles of the buttocks look like – check instagram if you are still confused.
But a lot of us are fuzzy on Anatomy of the buttocks: exactly what these globular lobes are and how they work.
If you are interested in improve your rear view, the first step is to know exactly what these mounds of muscle do on a day-to-day basis; to better ensure that they are doing their job properly, whether you are playing, working or training.
Here is your introduction to the anatomy of the buttocks.
What do the gluteal muscles do?
Your glutes are responsible for several important hip joint movements.
Pulling your knee towards your chest is known as hip flexion. the opposite movement is called hip extension, and it’s one of the main jobs of your glutes.
By fully contracting these muscles, you pull your thighs behind you. Think of a sprinter in full stride: the glutes on her back leg are about as tight as possible.
Most people are familiar with the “innie-outie” groin torture machine at the gym: it’s the one you sit on, bracing the inside or outside of your knees against the pads, then bringing them together or pushing them apart against resistance.
The glutes are responsible for this second action: bringing your femurs from one adduct (close) to a position removed (dismissed) one.
The phrases “internal rotation” and “external rotation” sound fancy, but they simply mean to turn a limb toward (internal) or away (external) from the midline of your body.. The glutes do both.
“In short,” says Trevor Thieme, CSCS, Beachbody’s Senior Director of Fitness and Nutrition Content, “the glutes help move your legs and hips — and provide balance and stability — every time you sprint, jump , climb stairs or get out of a chair.”
What muscles make up your butt?
Compared to, say, your knees, whose range of motion is mostly limited to one plane of motion, your hip joints are quite mobile, allowing your femurs to move in three planes: back and forth, side to side and rotating.
Here are the main posterior muscles that control these movements.
The star: gluteus maximus
Function: There’s a reason your glute max is often called the the strongest muscle in your body; like your other gluteal muscles, it helps rotate your thighs outward, but it’s also the one most responsible for extending your hip, and therefore helping you maintain an upright posture.
As the largest muscle in the body, it is capable of generating tremendous force.
Location: The glute max originates at your pelvis and sacrum and inserts into two places: your iliotibial band (a connective tissue tract that runs along the outside of your thigh) and your femur, just below your buttock. .
How to target it: Working all that glorious tendon with squats, deadlifts, lunges, and any other movement that requires you to extend your hip.
Support cast: gluteus medius
Function: Appearing just above and outside the rounded part of your buttocks, the main job of glute med is to abduct your legs.
It also helps rotate your femurs both internally and externally.
Location: This fan-shaped sheet of muscle originates along the top ridge of your hip bones and attaches to the greater trochanter — the bony protrusion on the outside of your hip.
Support plaster: small gluteus
Function: The small gluteus is the little brother of the middle finger; its primary responsibility is to provide stability to your thigh when standing on one foot.
Location: The glute min is similar in shape to the glute med and sits directly below it.
How to target it: You can emphasize the min gluteus with side plank variations.
Bit Players: Deep Rotators
Beneath the much-admired glutes are an underappreciated group of smaller muscles called the deep lateral rotators.
All originate at the back of your pelvis and attach to the top of your femur, wrapping around it like a flag around a pole.
As their collective name suggests, they rotate your femurs outward, which you’ll recall is known as external rotation.
You will rarely have much reason to consider these muscles unless something is wrong with them.
Piriformis Syndrome — inflammation, tightness or spasms in the uppermost rotator – is quite common in athletic and sedentary populations and can cause radiating pain in the buttocks and hamstrings. Hip stretches can help.