The connection between the gluteus maximus and hamstring injuries

The gluteus maximus (Gmax) plays an important role in the gait cycle, it works with the hamstrings to stabilise the sacroiliac joint (the joint between your sacrum and pelvis). When moving from heel-strike to midstance the Gmax increases it’s activation whilst the hamstring deactivates. If the Gmax is weak or misfiring then the hamstring will remain active, to keep the sacroiliac joint stable. This will lead to the hamstring becoming over-strained and subjected to abnormal stresses, which will result in injury.

The correct hip extension firing pattern

  1. Gluteus maximusHip extension firing pattern showing glutes and hamstrings
  2. Hamstrings
  3. Opposite lumbar extensors
  4. Same-side lumbar extensors
  5. Opposite thoracolumbar extensors
  6. Same-side thoracolumbar extensors

Gluteus Maximus Exercises

There are many exercises that will increase the strength of the Gmax, I have selected three that will activate it – making them ideal for the initial stages of rehabilitation. If you are finding it hard to get the techniques right then please get in touch or book on to one of our injury rehabilitation sessions, you can then add them to your warm-up or daily routine.

Gluteus maximus muscles

Gluteal Squeeze

You can do this by either lying or standing with your feet shoulder width apart, place your hands on your glutes (buttocks) so you can feel that they are contracting. Start by contracting your right glute and hold for two seconds, repeat this on your left glute (this is to make sure you can control the two sides independently). Once you are able to contract both glutes independently, maximally contract both the glutes at the same time and hold for two seconds, repeat this for 2 sets of 10-20 reps.


Glute strengthening exercises - bridge technique

Start lying on your back with your hips flexed to 45 degrees, knees bent to 90 degrees, and your feet flat on the floor. Engage your glutes (using the gluteal squeeze) then lift your pelvis up until your hips are in a neutral position, with you feet still flat on the floor and your knees bent. Hold in this position for two seconds then slowly lower you spine from the top to the bottom, until you’re back in the starting position. Repeat this for 1 set of 10-20 reps, building up to 3 sets of 20 reps.

Hip Extension on All Fours

Hip extension exercise on the ground

Start in the all fours position, engage your glute on the right whilst lift your right leg at your hip (keeping the knee in the 90 degree flexed position). Once you have raised your leg, so your thigh is aligned with your trunk and your lower leg is vertical, point your toe upwards to further engage your glutes. Hold this position for two seconds then return to the starting position, repeat this on the left side. Repeat this for 1 set of 10-20 reps, building up to 3 sets of 20 reps.

I hope you’ve found this information useful. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions relating to this or any other injuries you may have that are causing you pain or stopping you from doing the things you love.