Gluteal Muscles

Original Editor - Lucinda hampton

Top Contributors - Lucinda hampton and Kim Jackson  

Introduction[edit | edit source]

The gluteal muscles (buttock muscles) are a muscle group consisting of the gluteus maximus (the largest and thereby strongest muscle in the body), gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and tensor fasciae latae muscles. They are found in the gluteal region, an area overlying the posterior aspect of the pelvic girdle and the proximal part of the femur[1].

Image 1: Rotating image of the anatomy of muscles of the gluteal region. The Maximus (yellow), medius (blue) and minimus (red).

Function[edit | edit source]

These muscles help stabilize the upper body and pelvis, aid in locomotion, and extend the hip[2]. The gluteal muscles act on the hip joint, mainly to facilitate abduction and extension of the thigh but some also assist in the adduction, external rotation and internal rotation of the thigh.

  • Glut max is an important muscle for activities of daily living, displays of explosive athletic performance, and stability of certain joints in the body[3]. It is as our most powerful hip extensor.
  • If the gluteus medius and minimus were not contracting properly, the pelvis would drop towards the opposite side and the trunk would leans towards the opposite side. This is because the gluteus medius and minimus act to stabilize the pelvis eg. in single leg stance, which accounts for 30% of our normal gait cycle. See Trendelenburg Sign.[1][4]

Image 2: Trendelenburg gait

Physiotherapy Relevance[edit | edit source]

GT infographic.PNG

Weak gluteal muscles have been associated with a variety of lower limb issues. It may lead to other muscles or tissues to become overloaded through a cascade of see below text and links for in depth knowledge

Deep Lateral Rotators[edit | edit source]

Piriformis, gemmeli, obturator, quadratus femoris.PNG

There are also small, deep muscles in the gluteal region called the "deep lateral rotators" 0r "deep six muscles". These muscles largely act to laterally rotate the femur. They  provide stability to the ball and socket joint of the hip. These muscles all originate on the pelvic area and insert onto the greater trochanter of the femur.[6]

The deep lateral rotators muscles are: piriformis; gemellus superior; gemellus inferior; quadratus femoris; obturator internus. [7]

Image 4: Posterior view of gluteal region showing the deep lateral rotators and gluteus minimus.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 ken Hub Gluteal Muscles Available: 11.1.2022)
  2. Musculoskeletal Key Hips and Thighs Available: (accessed 11.1.2022)
  3. Buckthorpe M, Stride M, Della Villa F. Assessing and treating gluteus maximus weakness–a clinical commentary. International journal of sports physical therapy. 2019 Jul;14(4):655.Available: (accessed 12.1.2022)
  4. The physio company The Importance Of Strong Glute Muscles Available: (accessed 11.1.2022)
  5. Jeong UC, Sim JH, Kim CY, Hwang-Bo G, Nam CW. The effects of gluteus muscle strengthening exercise and lumbar stabilization exercise on lumbar muscle strength and balance in chronic low back pain patients. Journal of physical therapy science. 2015;27(12):3813-6.Available: 12.1.2022)
  6. Treehozz What are the six deep lateral rotators?Available: (accessed 11.1.2022)
  7. Anatomy Info Gluteal Muscles : Attachment, Nerve Supply & Action Available: 11.1.2022)