Exploring the deep six lateral rotators of the hip
The deep six lateral rotators are a group of muscles that move the hip. Individually they are small, but together they are quite powerful. We covered one of the deep six lateral rotators, the piriformis, already.
What do the names of the deep six lateral rotators mean?
Gemellus superior and Gemellus inferior:
The names of these muscles refer to the fact that they work together as a pair. Gemellus comes from the word “geminus” which means twin or doubled, like gemini. Superior is Latin for above. Gemellus superior is found higher on the body than gemellus inferior. Inferior is Latin for below. Gemellus inferior is found lower on the body than gemellus superior.
Obturator externus and Obturator internus:
The names of these muscles describe their location. Obturator refers to the muscles attachment on the obturator foramen. Externus is Latin for outward. Obturator externus attaches on the outside surface of the obturator foramen. Internus is Latin for within. Obturator internus attaches on the internal surface of the obturator foramen.
The name of this muscle describes its shape and its location. Quadratus comes from the Latin word quadrus which means square. The word femur is the Latin word for thigh. Quadratus femoris is a square-shaped muscle attached to the thigh.
Where do the deep six lateral rotators attach?
Gemellus superior and gemellus inferior originate together on the ischial spine. Obturator externus originates on the external surface of the obturator foramen. (The obturator foramen is a hole created by the bones of the pelvis.) Obturator internus originates on the internal surface of the obturator foramen. Quadratus femoris originates on the ischial tuberosities (sit bones).
All of the deep six lateral rotators insert together at the greater trochanter, a bony bump at the top of the femur.
What actions do the deep six lateral rotators do?
The deep six lateral rotators have a common action, lateral rotation of the thigh at the hip. The quadratus femoris can also assist in adduction.
Postures where the deep six lateral rotators contract:
Postures where the deep six lateral rotators are lengthened:
The double pigeon is a great place to lengthen the deep 6 lateral rotators. Flexing and externally rotating the hip joint will lengthen these muscles. This little series is my favorite for getting into some of these tissues.
Join thousands of yogis when you sign up to our monthly newsletter
Check out our Online Courses and Workshops
Knee pain and injuries are common in the general population as well as in the practice of yoga. Here we take a wide perspective and look at the basic function of the knee joint, what structures are located around the knee, where problems tend to arise during yoga practice, and finally, what you can do about knee pain. Read our most in-depth knee post which will help you more fully understand what is going on in the knee, as well as lead you to other great articles that we’ve previously written.
David summarizes research which suggests that the leg muscles which stabilize the ankle are important in maintaining standing balance poses.