The Gluteus Maximus Muscle

Gluteus Maximus Muscle

Christine Anatomy, Lower Limb Leave a Comment

Gluteus Maximus MuscleThe Gluteus Maximus Muscle

The gluteus maximus muscle and in general, the gluteal muscles are a group of powerful movers of the femur. There are three gluteal muscles: gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and gluteus maximus. Gluteus maximus is the largest, most powerful, and most superficial of the gluteal muscles. It’s a key muscle for many powerful, big movements.

What does gluteus maximus mean?

“Gluteus” comes from the Greek word “gloutos” which means “buttocks”. This tells us something about where these three muscles are located.
The second word in each muscle name tells us something about the size of each of these “Gluteus” muscles relative to one another.
Maximus is the Latin word for “greatest”.
Gluteus maximus, is the largest of the buttocks muscles.

Where does the gluteus maximus muscle attach?


Specifically, it originates on the posterior sacrum, posterior ilium, and superior gluteal line. The ilium is the bone on the lateral (outside) of the pelvis. Remember that the gluteal lines are bumpy lines on the outer surface of the pelvis.


It inserts on the gluteal tuberosity and the iliotibial band (referred to as the IT band). Gluteus maximus is one of the two muscles that inserts onto the iliotibial band (ITB), a tendinous sheet that extends from the ilium to the lateral condyle of the tibia. (The tensor fasica latae, which we’ll cover in a future post is the other muscle that inserts into the IT band.)

What actions does the gluteus maximus muscle do?

Gluteus maximus acts to extend the thigh at the hip joint.
It can also laterally rotate the femur when the hip is extended.

Poses where the gluteus maximus muscle contracts:

shalabasana gluteus maximus

Shalabasana is one place where we are strongly trying to extend the hip joint. The gluteus maximus helps us out.

Poses where the gluteus maximus muscle is lengthened:

paschimattanasana gluteus maximus

Paschimattanasana is a simple but effective way to lengthen the gluteus maximus muscle. Remember, it’s an extensor and we are flexing the hip joint.

Trigger Points

Trigger Points in Gluteus Maximus Muscle

yoga anatomy book cover

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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