December 21, 2017 - Amanda Jessee Iiams, MA, NKT3, CSCS, PMA-CPT, ACE
Anatomy Matters: Stretching the Glute Max
When attempting to stretch the glute max or the deep six rotators of the hip, many instructors choose the stretch I have posted. Unfortunately, I hear instructors cue this stretch in a way that makes it ineffective for the muscles I've listed. Instructors often tell participants to push the knee away from the body. Please don't do this. To understand why let's look at the anatomy and actions for the gM: The glute max attaches on the posterior aspect of the iliac crest and the posteriolateral aspect of the sacrum to the iliotibial band. It extends the femur in the hip, externally rotates the femur in the hip, posteriorly tilts the pelvis at the hip, extends the leg at the knee, it also contra-laterally rotates the pelvis at the hip if the femur is fixed (which is the same as external rotation of the femur if the pelvis is fixed, think about that), and the upper 1/3 abducts the femur while the lower 2/3 adducts the femur. (Forget about the abd and add for a minute). To stretch this muscle, one needs to do the opposite of the above actions bringing the femur into flexion, internal rotation, anterior tilt of pelvis and knee bent. So, is this an effective stretch? It does flex the hip âœ”ï¸and bend the knee âœ”ï¸ however pushing the knee away INCREASES hip external rotation. Think about that- pushing the knee away from you passively shortens the gM bringing the origin closer to the insertion. Instead, pull the knee towards the body as illustrated in the picture on the bottom. This action will passively move the origin and the insertion further away from one another and provide a more effective stretch for the gM and deep six. And PLEASE make sure to cue an anterior tilt of the pelvis, do not imprint that lumbar spine.
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