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Anatomy in detail:

3. GLUTEUS MAXIMUS

gif from wikimedia showing a rotating skeleton with the gluteus maximus muscles (male model). The gluteus maximus are almost diamond-shaped seen from the back, forming the buttocks. They are wide and quite flat muscles when seen from the side, spanning the back of the pelvis. The female gluteus maximus are not shown but are a rounder shape when seen from the back.

The left and right gluteus maximus muscles are the largest skeletal muscles of the body, forming the superficial muscle layer of the buttocks.

gluteus maximus keeping it simple

Atttachments of the gluteus maximus.

The gluteus maximus muscles attach to multiple structures, many more than the current standard description covers.

Attachments:

  • The ilium of the pelvis. Posterior to the posterior gluteal line (attaching to a narrow, semi-lunar area with a rough surface), and the posterior superior iliac crest.
  • The sacrum (posterior inferior edge).
  • The coccyx (lateral sides of the posterior surface).
  • The aponeurotic fascia of the gluteus medius muscle.
  • The sacrotuberous ligament (posterior surface).
  • The tuberoiliac ligament (part of the long posterior (dorsal) sacroiliac ligament).
  • The thoraco-lumbar fascia. (Through its attachment to the raphe of the thoracolumbar fascia, the gluteus maximus is coupled to the ipsilateral multifidus muscle and to the contralateral latissimus dorsi muscle.)
  • The iliotibial tract. Three-quarters of the fibres form a superficial lamina (layer) which narrows and attaches between the two layers of the tensor fascia latae, forming part of the iliotibial tract. (a.k.a. iliotibial band.)
  • Gluteal tuberosity of the femur. Via an aponeurosis (thin sheet of strong connective tissue) formed from the deeper muscle fibres. (The gluteus maximus attaches between the attachment sites of the vastus lateralis and adductor magnus).
Gluteus maximus attachments in detail showing the bones of the pelvis, sacrum, coccyx and femur, off-front view. The ligaments and fascia that the gluteus maximus attaches to are also shown. The various anatomical structures merge together, many forms of connective tissue blending into muscle and bone. Don't think of muscles as individual structures but as rather contractile fibers within a web of connective tissue. The gluteus maximus are the largest muscles of the body - hands on buttocks feel them tighten and influence the positioning of the surrounding bone and connective tissues, connecting the legs to Base-Line support.

Gluteus maximus - male and female.

The shape of the gluteus maximus differs between male and female as does the the shape of the pelvic bones, with the female gluteus maximus rounder to span the wider female pelvis as shown in the image below.

The gluteus maximus muscles, bones of the pelvis, sacrum and femur are shown. Front and back views. The male pelvis is narrower and triangular and the gluteus maximus, covering the back of the pelvis, a quadrilateral shape with the outer margins quite straight. The female pelvis is wider and rounder with the gluteus maximus muscles also rounder in shape, curving on the outer margins.

The gluteus maximus muscles cover a lot of complicated anatomy in the posterior pelvic region.

For example, many smaller muscles (including the piriformis, gluteus minimus and gluteus medius) and a complex web of connective tissues which are prone to stress and pain when the when the gluteus maximus are not fully utilised.

pelvis pictures

Muscles of the right buttock. The central section of the gluteus maximus, the most superficial muscle, has been removed to expose the smaller muscles that lie underneath, including the piriformis. The smaller muscles fan out over the back of the pelvis and are prone to syndromes and strain when the covering gluteus maximus is not adequately used.

The gluteus maximus muscles should be fully active, providing stability at the back of the pelvis and connecting the legs to Base-Line support.

Optimising the use of your muscles = Better health.

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