Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums General Hip tightness and the DUAL role the glutes play

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      Kelly’s recently stressed hip tightness in his last community video regarding “Knee’s In” – so I thought the timing of sharing some recent learnings would be of use to the community.

      Recently I noticed that if I’m in a half squat position and I disengage my glutes, my upper thigh area would also disengage. This made of think of antagonist muscles and the fact that they “antagonize” another muscle – so I thought, I wonder exactly how that relationship works between these 2 muscles.

      Why? It helped me better apply the “torque” that Kelly is always mentioning.  I’ve found that when I focus on using my gym as a “lab” I’m better able to increase the potency of my training by acquiring and applying my knowledge of the most kick-ass machine on the planet – our bodies. Kind of like reading the owner’s manual.

      I found a really quick read of the glutes and the fact that it has 3 parts.


      The G.Maximus works with the hip flexors! That explains my experience. But I also learned that they work together essentially to – “support your knee while balancing, works against gravity while sitting and helps to rotate and extend your hip.”

      Here’s a good photo that show’s something I found interesting.
      Figure 1

      These muscles insert into the back of the femur in a way that when contracted would cause external rotation of the femur. “External rotation” is talked about extensively in its role for creating stability in the hip.

      ***So in my mind I’m thinking that I want to toy around in my lab (gym) with using my g.maximus in conjuction with the muscles above to create help create a tight hip – in particular when I’m working on something like my Front Squat Form.

      I went on to read about the G.Medius and that it’s role is “to rotate your thigh toward your body and keep you balanced on one foot.”

      WHOA! Medius is working to rotate the thigh internally, and the Maximus is in cahoots with Mistress Iliopsoas and her plan to externally rotate the thigh! The bastard!

      Seriously though, if you’ve ever wanted to get a better grasp of the torque that Kelly’s always talking about, consider making a quick mental note because I found it very insightful.

      Then I was curious about G.Medius’ “antagonist” muscles.

      Figure 2 – This is a front view of the body. You can see that they attach at and around the top of the femur area.

      Figure 3 – This is a much better picture of the area and just one of those muscles (the Piriformis). You can see that when it contracts, it would essentially internally rotate the femur as mentioned earlier.

      This really made think about how I engage my glutes during a squat.

      It also helps me to visualize the torque created as well. It’s almost like a weird double helix. Between pairs of muscles running down the leg. Another really good way to see the torque is in a picture like this of the Sartorius muscle.

      Or the Popliteus. It’s interesting that Kelly has done MWods on mulligan therapy that internally rotates the tibia. Funny that there’s a muscle that does just that. Everytime I take the stairs I take them 2 at a time and as I plant and drive my weight up, I focus on using this little guy. I can feel a significant impact to the stability in the knee when I’ve gotten to the top of the stairs and this baby is nice and lit up.

      That’s all I had to share.  It’s had a pretty big impact for me. I hope it can do the same for you.

      ~Stay healthy Legion

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