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Gluteus Maximus Anatomy: Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

Gluteus Maximus Anatomy Study

Gluteus Maximus Muscle Anatomy
Origin: From a broad area on the posterior surface of the ilium, the posterior gluteal line, the rough area of bone superior and inferior to this line, upward to the iliac crest, the aponeurosis of erector spinae, the dorsal surface of the lower part of the sacrum and the side of the coccyx, the sacrotuberous ligament, and the fascia that covers gluteus medius.
Insertion: The muscle has both an upper portion and a lower deep portion. The upper part of the muscle, along with the more superficial fibers of the lower part, end in a thick flat tendon that passes lateral to the greater trochanter and attaches to the iliotibial band of the fascia lata. A bursa is usually found between the greater trochanter and the muscle-tendon unit. The deeper fibers of the lower part of the muscle attach to the gluteal tuberosity, a raised portion of the bone between the attachments of vastus lateralis and adductor magnus.
Action: Extension of the thigh at the hip, Abduction of the thigh at the hip
Innervation: Inferior gluteal nerve L5, S1-2
Blood Supply: Inferior gluteal artery from the internal iliac artery



Primary Actions of the Gluteus Maximus:

1. Extention of thigh at the hip

  • Agonists: Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus, Biceps femoris (long head), Adductor Magnus (posterior fiber),
  • Antagonists: Psoas major, Iliacus

2. Abduction of thigh at hip

  • Agonists: Gluteus medius , Gluteus minimus
  • Antagonists: Adductor longus, Adductor brevis, Adductor magnus (anterior part)

Secondary Actions of the Gluteus Maximus

3. Assists with external rotation of the thigh at the hip

  • Agonists: Obturator internus, Obturator externus, Gemellus superior, Gemellus inferior, Quadratus femoris
  • Antagonists: Tensor fasciae latae, Gluteus minimus (anterior fibers) Gluteus medius (anterior fibers)

4. Helps to stabilize the knee in extension of the thigh at the hip via the iliotibial band

5. Extention of the pelvis at the hip

    • Agonists: Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus, Biceps femoris (long head), Adductor magnus (posterior part)
    • Antagonist: Psoas major and Iliacus

For pain and symptom information see: Gluteus Maximus Muscle: Low Back, Hip, Tailbone, Buttock Pain

Anatomy Study Aids

Musculoskeletal Anatomy Flashcards

Musculoskeletal Flashcards

Are you a student or professional therapist who needs to brush up on the musculoskeletal system? Dr. Joseph E. Muscolino DC has developed a comprehensive set of flashcards that will help develop a mind’s picture of exactly where the muscles lie under the skin. A highly recommended study aid!




The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook – Claire Davies, Amber Davies, and David G. Simons

Basic Clinical Massage Therapy: Integrating Anatomy and Treatment – James H. Clay and David M. Pounds

Trigger Point Therapy for Myofascial Pain – Donna Finando and Steven Finando



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