The “other” Glutes!

side leg liftsIn our last blog, we discussed the merits, both aesthetic and anatomical, of a well developed gluteus maximus (click here to read!).  But since the “glutes” do get lopped together often in cueing, today’s blog will discuss their differences and similarities.

First of all, the gluteus maximus is the most superficial of the three and gives the buttocks is lifted, curvy shape (when well toned, of course.)  Underneath the gluteus maximus lies the gluteus medius and underneath that lies the gluteus minimus.  Their sizes are in the name: large, medium and small respectively.  If the gluteus maximus gives overall shape to the buttocks, then the gluteus medius and minimus can be said to give shape to the hip.

The gluteus maximus extends and laterally rotates the femur at the hip, and is responsible for bringing the torso upright from a stooped position when standing.  The gluteus medius and minimus ABduct the femur, but primarily stabilize the body when standing on one leg.  In fact, an often used “weak link” test to determine a weak gluteus medius is to see if the subject can balance on one leg.  If the gluteus medius isn’t firing properly, the subject can not stabilize the body on one leg at all.  Additionally, both the gluteus medius and minimus assist in medially rotating the femur.  However, once the hip is flexed to ninety degrees, the action of the gluteus medius shifts and it aids in laterally rotating the femur.

In Pilates mat work, the gluteus medius and minimus get their moments in the sun during the Side Leg Lift series of exercises.  This includes Side Kicks, straight forward Side Lying Abduction of the femur, Side Lying Scissors, Side Lying Bicycle, Banana, and the side lying exercises with the exercise band, Side Lying Clam and Book. However, this pair of muscles is always stabilizing in any standing exercise on the chair or cadillac and in footwork on the reformer, to name a few.

Because the Tensor Fascia Latae also abducts the hip, targeting the gluteus medius and encouraging it to fire first (as it should) can be challenging.   ActivCore and the Redcord system offer fabulous exercises for strengthening the gluteus medius safely and effectively.  Because of the unique off-weighting system, ActicCore provides direct, acheivable gluteus medius conditioning exercises that can help even the most body UN-aware person isolate the gluteus medius and strengthen it.  A strong gluteus medius improves Ground Reaction Force which helps distribute forces evenly through the body during actions such as the tennis serve (click here to read more) and the baseball swing.

More on the gluteus medius and Ground Reaction Force next time!

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July 3, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . ACTIVCORE®, Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings.

2 Comments

  1. pilatesburien replied:

    Another interesting fact is that the gluteus medius also does lateral rotation and the gluteus minimus with it’s insertion on the top of the greater trocanter does both internal and external rotation.

    I love muscles!

  2. The “other” Glutes! « The Corps Pilates Blog | Pilates Center replied:

    […] In Pilates matted impact , the glute medius and minimus intend their moments in the solarise during the Side Leg Lift program of exercises. This includes Side Kicks, straightforward nervy Side Lying Abduction of the femur, Side Lying Scissors, … Read more from the example source: The “other” Glutes! « The Corps Pilates Blog […]

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