Gluteus Maximus Muscle Anatomy

Overview
Origin Posterior gluteal line of the ilium
Thoracolumbar fascia
Sacrotuberous ligament
Posterior surface of the sacrum
Posterior surface of the coccyx
Insertion Gluteal tuberosity of the femur
Iliotibial band (which inserts into the lateral condyle of the tibia)
Action Hip extension
Hip lateral rotation
Hip abduction (superior part of muscle)
Hip adduction (inferior part of muscle)
Nerve Inferior gluteal nerve (L4, L5, S1, S2)
Artery Superior and inferior gluteal arteries

Location & Overview

The gluteus maximus muscle is the heaviest and largest muscle in the human body. Out of all the gluteal muscles (comprised of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus), the gluteus maximus is the most superficial (closest to the skin’s surface). It covers the other two gluteal muscles except for the anterior superior third of the gluteus medius [1].

gluteus maximus muscle

Here we can see pictured the gluteus maximus muscle in isolation.

bony origins of the gluteus maximus

Here we can see pictured the bony origins of the gluteus maximus muscle marked in red. These are on the posterior gluteal line of the ilium, posterior surface of the sacrum and the posterior surface of the coccyx.

Origin & Insertion

The gluteus maximus originates on the posterior gluteal line of the ilium (a bone of the pelvis), the thoracolumbar fascia, the sacrotuberous ligament, the posterior surface of the sacrum and the posterior surface of the coccyx. It then inserts onto the gluteal tuberosity of the femur and also onto the iliotibial tract (also known as the iliotibial band or IT band for short). This means the muscle fibres of the gluteus maximus are directed obliquely downward and lateralward[2][3].

gluteus maximus origin thoracolumbar fascia

Here we can see pictured another origin of the gluteus maximus muscle, which is the thoracolumbar fascia (highlighted in green).

origin of the gluteus maximus muscle sacrotuberous ligament

Here we can see pictured the last origin of the gluteus maximus muscle, which is the sacrotuberous ligament (highlighted in green).

insertion of the gluteus maximus

Here we can see an insertion of the gluteus maximus muscle on the gluteal tuberosity of the femur (marked in blue).

gluteal tuberosity of the femur

Here we can see the gluteal tuberosity of the femur amongst other bony landmarks of the femur.

luteus maximus muscle insertion on the iliotibial band

Here we can see pictured another insertion of the gluteus maximus muscle, which is the iliotibial band (highlighted in green).

insertion of the iliotibial band on the tibia

Here we can see the insertion of the iliotibial band on the tibia (highlighted in blue).

Actions

The gluteus maximus is able to perform hip extension as its primary action (straightening the hip joint from a flexed position). It is also involved in hip lateral rotation (rotating thigh outwards). The superior portion of the muscle is also able to perform hip abduction (moving thigh out to the side). The inferior part of the muscle can perform hip adduction (moving the thigh towards the midline of the body)[4].

Innervation

The gluteus maximus is innervated by the inferior gluteal nerve (L4, L5, S1, S2) [5].

Blood Supply

Blood is supplied to the gluteus maximus by the superior and inferior gluteal arteries[6].

Want some flashcards to help you remember this information? Then click the link below:
Gluteus Maximus Muscle Flashcards

References

References
1 Jeong, Ju-Ri & Lee, Su-Jin & Lee, Wan-Hee. (2017). Reliability of rehabilitative ultrasound imaging for measuring the gluteus maximus muscle at rest and during contraction. Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Science. 6. 7-13. 10.14474/ptrs.2017.6.1.7.
2 Moore KL, Agur AMR, Dalley AF. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincot Williams & Wilkins; 2017.
3 Barker, Priscilla & Hapuarachchi, Kamal & Ross, J.A. & Sambaiew, E & Ranger, T.A. & Briggs, Christopher. (2014). Anatomy and Biomechanics of Gluteus Maximus and the Thoracolumbar Fascia at the Sacroiliac Joint. Clinical anatomy (New York, N.Y.). 27. 10.1002/ca.22233.
4 Neto WK, Soares EG, Vieira TL, et al. Gluteus Maximus Activation during Common Strength and Hypertrophy Exercises: A Systematic Review. J Sports Sci Med. 2020;19(1):195-203. Published 2020 Feb 24.
5 Sumalatha S, D Souza AS, Yadav JS, Mittal SK, Singh A, Kotian SR. An unorthodox innervation of the gluteus maximus muscle and other associated variations: A case report. Australas Med J. 2014 Oct 31;7(10):419-22. doi: 10.4066/AMJ.2014.2225. PMID: 25379064; PMCID: PMC4221778.
6 Elzanie A, Borger J. Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Gluteus Maximus Muscle. [Updated 2021 Jul 19]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538193/