The hip joint is a very complex structure that has many functions. Numerous muscles and muscle groups that surround it play various roles in the movements of the thigh.
The gluteal muscle group works together to extend, rotate and abduct the upper leg. Both the fascia lata tensioner and the buttocks work together to extend, rotate and abduct the upper part of the leg in the separation movement of the thigh.
A group of six muscles, often referred to as rotators, are found deep under the buttocks and exerts lateral rotation of the thigh.
The five muscles that move the thigh toward the midline of the body are commonly known as thigh adductors. All of the muscle groups that make up the hip musculature often work together to move the lower body in many planes.
The posterior muscles that move the thigh are the gluteus maximus, the largest and most superficial of the three, the gluteus medius and the gluteus minorus.
Anatomy of The Buttocks
The first is a very strong muscle and is responsible for the extension and external rotation of the leg. It originates in the lumbar region, in the ilium, sacrum, coccyx and lumbar aponeurosis.
The middle and lower buttocks are located below it and work together to abduct (open) the leg when it is in neutral position, to externally rotate the thigh when the hip is flexed, and to internally rotate the thigh when the hip is extended.
Both the medial gluteus and the minor gluteus originate in the iliac bone and are inserted into the greater trochanter of the femur.
The Thigh Abductor
The tensor of the fascia lata (located on the lateral surface of the hip) is, along with the buttocks, a thigh abductor. It originates at the anterior edge of the iliac crest and is inserted into the iliotibial tract.
The anterior muscles that move the thigh are the iliac and the psoas major. The first muscle originates in the iliac fossa and is inserted into the lower trochanter of the femur. The second originates in the transverse process of the lumbar vertebrae. These two muscles work to flex and rotate the thigh, as well as to flex the spine.
Anatomy of The Hip
Far below the gluteus maximus muscle is a series of six lateral rotator muscles of the thigh. These are: the pyriform, the upper gemmy, the internal obturator, the lower gemmy, the external obturator and the femoral square.
These muscles are very small and originate in the posterior face of the pelvis and are inserted into the head of the femur. They act by making the lateral rotation of the thigh.
Adductors of Hip
Finally, the group commonly known as the adductors consists of five muscles located on the inner side of the thigh, moving it towards the midline of the body.
The interim rectus muscle (or graceful muscle) is the most superficial, the pectinaeum is the most proximal and the long adductor is located immediately lateral to the internal rectum. The short adductor is located behind the long adductor.
The major adductor, the largest of the group, is located in the most medial part of the thigh. The five adductor muscles originate in different areas of the pubis (pubic bone) and are inserted into the femur.
The internal rectus muscle is the only one inserted into the tibia. All of them are responsible for the adduction, flexion and rotation of the thigh.
Training the hip muscles individually is practically impossible; however, stimulating the hip and thigh muscle groups as a whole can be very easy.
Squats, step and stride work the group of buttocks very effectively. The hip machine (abduction movements) and walking sideways with an elastic band adds resistance to the abduction movements of the hip, stimulating this particular area.
The iliac and psoas major, which are the main ones involved in hip flexion, can be trained by back strides, as well as hip flexion exercise with legs stretched with pulley.
Lateral strides work the adductor muscle group, medially approaching and rotating the hip, as well as the squatting exercise with open legs.
Exercises such as Romanian deadweight, touching the tip of the foot on one leg and hip extension on the exercise ball work many of the hip muscles, both as primary motors and secondary stabilizers.
All these exercises also help in the construction of a stronger and more functional lumbar region, in turn reducing the risk of injury in this anatomical area.