A Guide to the Muscles of the Buttocks
The buttocks, also known as the gluteal muscles, is made up of three different muscles:
- the gluteus maximus
- the gluteus medius
- and the gluteus minimus
All three of these muscles work together to move your legs and stabilize your hips.
They each have their own function, but they work closely together as a team.
Below you’ll learn about the each of the three gluteal muscles and the functions they perform.
The largest of the gluteal muscles is the gluteus maximus. It is the part of your butt that gives your bottom it’s shape and size.
You use your gluteus maximus every time you lift your leg to its side, thrust your hips forward, or rotate your leg.
Your gluteus maximus also helps you balance as you stand, walk, or run.
When you run your gluteus maximus helps propel you forward and helps you power up hills. It also helps you climb stairs or use the dreaded stair climber at the gym.
When you perform squats or lunges your gluteus maximus is the muscle that lifts your body back up.
Your glutes do so much more than just look good in a great pair of jeans.
The gluteus medius is the middle sized gluteal muscle.
It’s located above the gluteus maximus and attached to the pelvis.
The gluteus maximus covers part of the gluteus medius. The main job of the gluteus medius is to stabilize the pelvis.
A strong gluteus medius will help you have good posture and will allow you to have a strong, stable gait.
The gluteus minimus is the smallest gluteal muscle. It sits below the gluteus maximus.
Its job is to keep your leg in place.
You have a ball and socket joint that connects your leg and your gluteus minimus keeps the ball int the socket. It can also contribute to the shape of your bottom.
As you can see, the gluteal muscles are a complicated team of muscles that work together to help you stand, walk, and run.
They help your posture, keep your legs in the socket, and help you balance.
They also help you perform complicated exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, and many other exercises and lifts that target your glutes.
When you break it down, you can see how each of the three muscles has its own role to play.
If all of your gluteal muscles are strong you will have great balance and lower body strength.
If one of these muscles is weak, you will have problems with your posture, gait, flexibility, and mobility, so it’s important all three of the gluteal muscles are strong.
If you’re concerned about the strength of your glutes, there are some exercises that will help you strengthen them.
One of the best exercises for your butt is the squat. Some other great exercises for your butt are lunges, deadlifts, box jumps, mountain climbers, kickbacks, glute bridges, and hip thrusts.
There are many exercises that target your glutes, so be sure to add some of them to your fitness routine.
5 Surprising Benefits of a Toned Butt
Of all the muscles that women in particular want to build, tighten, shape and tone, the butt is number one.
And while a shapely defined butt is pleasing to look at and can do wonders for your self-esteem, there are actually some health benefits to having a great set of glutes, like:
1) Improved posture
If you have a desk job, then your posture might not be as good as it once was.
Because sitting shortens the hip flexors and stretches the hip extensors.
This in turn makes your pelvis tilt forward making it look like you have more belly fat and of course detracting attention away from your butt.
Squats, lunges and deadlifts can help stretch back out the hip flexors thus help to realign your pelvic tilt.
This in turn reduces the appearance of belly fat and helps accentuate your butt.
2) Pain reduction
Strong glutes in the butt help support the lower back. This in turn helps keep the back in alignment.
Without strong glutes, muscles that were not designed to support the back have to take over.
Eventually they become weak from being overworked resulting in pain and eventually injuries to the back, knees and ankles.
If you suffer from shin splits, Achilles tendon issues in your ankle, ACL sprains or tears in your knees and issues with the IT Band going down your legs, weak glutes could be the problem.
Strengthen them by doing hip thrusts, single leg dead lifts and weighted clam shells.
Videos of all these exercises can be found by searching YouTube.
3) Increased Bone Density
Actually having a toned butt itself is not what increases bone density; it is the weight lifting and muscle strengthening exercise that got you a toned butt that is responsible for it.
However, the key to good bone density is starting early.
Around age 30, we don’t remake bone as fast as we lose it and the more you have going in, the longer you can go without having bone density-related issues.
4) Fat loss
Of course, all that exercising and eating a healthy low carb diet results in a calorie deficit which helps burn off the fat.
Once the body fat (and in particular the fat in your butt) is reduced, your true toned butt can start to shine through.
5) Fat maintenance
Muscle burns more calories than fat – even while at rest, so the increase of muscle in your butt will help you keep burning more calories than before and provided you keep the calories you eat and the calories you burn about the same, your weight should stay about the same.
Now your reason to get a toned butt extends beyond just looking good and raising your self-esteem.
There are health benefits to go along with it. Even more incentive to work that butt!