deep six lateral rotators

Deep Six Lateral Rotators

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Deep 6 Lateral Rotators

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.

Quadratus femoris:

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?

deep six lateral rotators

The deep six lateral rotators of the femur are located deep to the gluteus maximus.

Origins

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).

Insertions

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:

deep 6 lateral rotators contract in urdhva dhanurasana

The deep six lateral rotators contract in urdhva dhanurasana. But don’t let them overpower the adductors!

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.

deep six lateral rotator stretch

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Many of the concepts in this article are discussed in:
Functional Anatomy of Yoga

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About David Keil

david keil yoga anatomyThis website is simply about delivering yoga anatomy to the yoga community in a simple and understandable way. It has always been about you, the reader, understanding the complexity and diversity of our own humanness as well as our anatomy.

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