The gluteus maximus is the largest of the 3 gluteal muscles. It extends the femur at the hip and laterally rotates the extended hip.
The gluteus medius is situated on the outside of the hip and the gluteus minimus is directly under it. Together, they are responsible for abduction and rotation of the femur at the hip. They also assist the gluteus maximus in extension.
The gluteus medius muscle contracts, stabilising the pelvis when standing on one leg, preventing the pelvis from tilting to the unsupported side.
If these muscles do not fire where and when they’re supposed to, other muscles compensate, which can result in strain or injury.
Weak and lengthened glutes can’t stabilise your pelvis, and cause it to tilt forward, putting pressure on lumbar spine. The lower back can then be at risk, if it is forced to do the hip extending job of the glutes.
In Pilates, we learn how to ensure that the gluteal muscles fire and function correctly. This promotes correct movement patterns and helps to prevent injury.