The gluteal muscles are the power house of the human body. The muscle group is comprised of the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus, controlling many of the major movements of the hip. Each muscle has a vital function:
- Hip Extension: Vital for gait (walking)
- Pelvic stability
- Controlled movement of the hip
- Power for propulsion
- Stability and alignment of the pelvis during single-leg movement
What is the role of the Gluteus Medius (GM)?
GM serves to maintain pelvic alignment during single-leg activities such as jumping, kicking and running. When you consider that over 50% of the gait cycle is spent on one leg, which can be increased by over a further 30% during running, it is easy to appreciate the importance of this muscle to be strong & firing as best as possible.
A weak GM can result in what is called ‘Trendelenburg Sign’ or hip sag. This hip drop sounds relatively innocent, however repeated misalignment of the pelvis during gait can lead to other problems in the spine, knee and ankle. This not only increases risk of overuse injuries, incorrect tracking, poor transmission of impact forces, it also decreases the body’s ability to generate power during activity.
How can chiropractic help?
- Chiropractic treatment ensures that the entire body is in alignment allowing the pelvis to maintain optimal positioning, thus giving the glute muscles the best possible chance to fire properly.
- If incorrect pelvic alignment is present, muscles such as the ITB and TFL tend to act as cable pulls. These muscles then take over as the primary lateral pelvic stabiliser, causing the GM to switch off. Patients with inactive GM will begin to experience pain and dysfunction in the lower chain, including the lower back, hip, knee and ankle.
- Changes in pelvic alignment alters the force vectors in the lower body. Here patients will often experience hamstring and hip flexor overactivity, leading to changes in gait and posture. These changes in vectors cause joints throughout the body to overload and therefore increase the chances of injury.
- Chiropractors work closely with the spine to ensure optimum nerve firing and neurological function. By doing so, we can ensure that all nerve pathways from the brain & spinal cord are flowing uninterrupted, thus reducing the chances of muscular atrophy and inhibition.
- Adjustments to the sacroiliac joint (part of the pelvis) provides a strong proprioceptive input which lets the body know where all of its joints and muscles are in space. This encourages joint centration and appropriate muscle tone.
How can I strengthen and switch on my glutes?
- Single leg exercises with a practitioner proscribed gym program
- Wall hip drops
- Bridges on a yoga ball
- Theraband clams
- Crab walk
- Resisted & Bulgarian lunges
- Pilates, pilates & more clinical pilates