Gait: When is the last time you used the swear words “closed kinetic chain” ? How well do you understand your Gluteus Maximus ?
These are just some fragmented, early morning, mental ramblings about the genius of the body. We are sure to follow up with more glute talk in time.
When the foot is engaged with the ground one of the major functions of the gluteus maximus is to draw the pelvis into posterior rotation (with some assistance of some other regional muscles of course). The pelvis is extending on the femur through the hip joint axis. If the foot is off the ground one would call this hip extension. But when the foot is on the ground, it is still hip extension, however our mental reference must change. This motion we have described, when the foot has purchase on the ground, is what happens when we return upwards from a squatted position (see ! it is still hip extension). You may find it a brain twister to look at the qluteus maximus also as a rotator of the pelvis away from your foot progression direction. Meaning, we think of the gluteus maximus also as an external rotation generator but when the foot is ground engaged contraction of the G. Max spins our pelvis (and connected torso) away.
Go ahead, stand on your right foot and contract your glute maximus. Which way does your body rotate ?
So, when contracted, if the right foot is on the ground the body pelvis-torso will spin to the left.
So, how do we use our glutes to help us move forward ?
Well, this is a complicated chain of events and this was not the purpose of our ramblings today. This muscle does not work in isolation. Might we just say that there is an opposite swing leg moving forward into flexion which helps to redirect that spin into a sagital progression. Go ahead, stand on that right foot again, contract the glute maximus and note the left rotation, but now add the left forward hip flexion placing the left foot into forward progression. Do you feel that torque and compression through the right hip, core and spine ? Do you have enough core strength to not prostitute the pelvic neutral posturing ? Did you drop into an anterior pelvis tilt (APT) ? Go ahead now, add the anti-phasic motion of contralateral arm swing just to add some more complex rotation to the picture. Are bells and whistles going off about some of your clients problems ? You might want to go back and re-read our work on Arm-Leg swing now. (click here). We plan to build on these concepts in the very near future ….. keep up with us, be ready !
There was alot going on here in what we just did. More on this another day, time to go put this gait stuff to our Friday patients. That is right, we just don’t talk about this stuff, we live it. Remember, unless your patients, clients and athletes wheeled themselves into your facility …… they walked in via the gait cycle. Know your stuff.
Have a great weekend peeps
Shawn & Ivo
The Gait Guys
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