Call me weird but I do have favourite muscles. I like small ones like the scalenes that are neck muscles that elevate the upper ribs during inhalation. They are often tight which is why it’s such a shame that many therapists neglect them. But the muscles I love going to town on are big muscles of the pelvis and thigh: the adductors, hamstrings and quads. And glutes, of course.
The three gluteal muscles – maximus, medius and minimus – work together to extend and outwardly rotate the hip or inwardly rotate and abduct the hip. They play a major role in all running, jumping, climbing and standing activities. They are powerful muscles but are often tight, especially around the origin at the iliac crest. Working here and at the great trochanter and gluteal tuberosity attachments can be very effective but also painful so I use deep work but take it slowly. The same goes for the belly of the muscle.
The medius is the most interesting of the glutes because different parts of it act in different directions. It’s the glute that’s most likely to be tight. Never be embarrassed to ask your therapist to work on your glutes. Tight glutes can refer pain down into the hamstrings and can fail to support the lumbar spine, leading to lower back pain.
Clients who come to me in Islington with weak glutes are those who do not exercise enough – often middle aged who let their glutes go or those who sit long hours. But glutes are very easy to strengthen – a daily regime of lunges and squats (with or without weights) will soon have your butt in good shape - which surely everyone should want? We all like to be admired, even from behind.