The Gluteal Muscles: More than Seat Cushions

By Dr. John De Noyelles

As a society we do a LOT of sitting. We sit during our morning and afternoon commutes, while at work, during meals, and while watching TV or using our mobile devices. This adds up to 12-16 hours per day. Our poor gluteal muscles take most of the brunt, as we shut them down and rely on their padding properties. If an alien race wanted to determine the role of our gluteal musculature, they would likely conclude that the primary function of the gluteus maximus is cushioning. Fortunately, these muscles are capable of so much more.

I often find untapped potential in my patient’s gluteal muscles. I will do a simple strength test and find weakness. After facilitating activation of these muscles through a variety of possible techniques, I then retest strength. Abracadabra! The patient then tests and feels stronger. How does this happen? It’s not because the muscles increased in size during one session. That takes weeks to months to occur. Instead, it’s more likely that the brain was reminded about these muscles. Basically, the brain says, “Hey, I remember you guys!”

If you have back, knee, ankle, or foot pain, or daily functional movements or your athletic performance are less than desired, a lack of punch from the gluteal muscles may be playing a role.

Dr. John De Noyelles, PT, OCS, CSCS