When we think what moves the hip, we might think of the hip flexors in front and the gluteus maximus in the back. There also exists six much smaller muscles that have important roles in hip integrity, movement of the legs, as well as proper tilt to the pelvis. These are the deep six lateral rotator muscles.
Function of the Deep Six Muscles
Deep inside the hip, under gluteus maximus, these muscles laterally rotate the leg in the hip joint. They allow for outward tuning of your knees via the hip. The deep six are hip stabilizers and also extend the hips as well . They help create motion integrity of the hips as you articulate your steps. When they are strengthened, stretched and in high function they support the sacrum and hip bones in the pelvis so that your vertebrae are evenly stacked and your legs move your weight through the body in proper fashion. The sciatic nerve also weaves between a few of them, making its way down through the legs bilaterally.
Deep six Muscles
(Trail guide to the body, Andrew Biel)
- Gemellus superior
- Obturatur internus
- Gemellus inferior
- Obturatur externus
- Quadratus femoris
Because the deep six are under the gluteus maximus, typically one of the strongest muscles in your body, they are often overshadowed. They are easy to miss in most workouts as they rotate the hips in a way that most machines in gyms do not effect. However, there are targeted therapies including massage therapy and also special workouts designed to target them.
If you have lower back, hip or other pains in the general vicinity, it could be a symptom of needing to recondition your deep six muscles for optimal function. Massage therapy and doing a few exercises a week can greatly increase their ability to support your body. We have a protocol for recovering this function at Align Wellness.