Research Review: Gluteus Maximus Stabilization Forces at the Sacroiliac Joint

By Stefanie DiCarrado DPT, PT, NASM CPT & CES

Edited by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

Original Citation: Barker, PJ., Hapuarachchi, K.S., Ross, J.A., Sambaiew, E., Ranger, T.A., and Briggs, C.A. (2013) Anatomy and biomechanics of gluteus maximus and the thoracolumbar fascia at the sacroiliac joint. Wiley Online Library. DOI: 10.1002/ca.22233 ABSTRACT

glute max

Image courtesy of Barker, Hapuarachchi, Ross, Sambaiew, Ranger, and Briggs (2013)


Why is this relevant?:  As mentioned in the article: Gluteus Maximus: Superficial & Deep Fibers, cadaver dissections have revealed deep fibers of the gluteus maximus that only invest in the sacrum and ilium (that do not cross the hip).  Further, a large majority of the cross-sectional area of the gluteus maximus can be attributed to fibers that cross both the sacrum and hip, implying that the gluteus maximus may have a special role in stabilization of the sacroiliac joint (SIJ).  This study takes the next step by investigating the amount of force these fibers can generate and the resulting compressive force on the SIJ, so that we may hypothesize the contribution of the gluteus maximus to SIJ stabilization.

Study Summary

Study Design Descriptive
Level of EvidenceLevel IV: Evidence from a single descriptive or qualitative study 
Subject Demographics

  • Age: 54-90 years old (deceased)
  • Gender:  2 female, 4 male
  • Characteristics:  Cadaver dissection, 11 gluteus maximi dissected
Outcome Measures

  • Fascicle origins & orientation
  • Fascicle bundle length
  • Fascicle bundle volume
  • Fascicle bundle PCSA
  • Maximum possible force generated by fascicle bundle
  • Maximum compressive force at SIJ & extension moment at lumbar spine.

  • Fibers crossing the SIJ comprised 70% of the PCSA
  • 67% of fibers inserted into the IT band; 33% inserted on gluteal tuberosity
  • 10% of the gluteus maximus attached proximally to the thoracolumbar fascia (TLF) and erector spinae aponeurosis
  • Fascicle origins (listed superolateral to inferomedial attachement