Let’s begin with a little anatomy. When we say “gluteus” we are referring to three distinct muscles: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.
The gluteus maximus is, by far, the biggest of the three, primarily determine the pattern of your rear. In fact, the gluteus maximus got his name for being the biggest muscle of the body.
The gluteus medius is significant smaller and is below the gluteus maximus.
Finally, the gluteus minimus is the smaller of the three, and stays deeply below the gluteus medius.
Understanding the primary functions of the muscle is primordial to develop the best training scheme.
The gluteus maximus can perform three functions in the hips: extension, abduction and external rotation.
The primary function of the gluteus medius is the abduction of the hip, the posterior portion of the muscle can help in the extension and rotation of the hip.
The gluteus minimus acts with the gluteus medius to realize the abduction of the hip.
Since the gluteus execute three functions in the hips, if you don’t train equally your results will suffer. That means that you will no have the general strength that you need in the hips, that can cause knee pains.
Variations in the exercises improves the condition of this muscles. however, some popular exercises strengthens only one function of the glutes: the hip extensions.
By doing nothing more than hip extensions, you are neglecting the gluteus medius, gluteus mínimus, as well as other two potential functions of the gluteus maximus, as demonstrated in the sheet below:
Building strength in this movement patterns is essential for the health and knee performance.
The side plank with leg lift will help to maximize the strength of all glutes muscles.
By doing this exercise you will have three beneficts:
Less knee pain, the glute strenght, especially for abduction and external rotation, is related to knee health.
Better performance, high levels of glute power, in all three movements, are beneficial to imprive the performance to run, jump and fast changes of direction in the field.
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