Functional Personal Training is aimed at training the body to cope with everyday situations. It is possible to train your muscles to be fit for your chosen sport and yet still have pain or discomfort in some areas at home or at work. Here is an example.

Recently I have had two clients in my New Malden studio complain of lower backache. These ladies both have no history of lower back injury and both have active gluteal muscles. One is able to deadlift 60kg with good form.

Back ache: Functional personal training can ease this problem

I too suffer from the same issue from time to time. I have good core strength and am very active, but my back can still ache from time to time..

An aching back may not be due to your back at all. Tight or weak muscles in the hips and buttocks, or glutes, have a negative effect on your posture, resulting in back pain. So if you come to me for a Functional Personal Training session complaining of back ache, don’t be surprised if you find yourself working your legs, core and lower body all over.


diagram showing gluteal muscles

The gluteal muscles are a group of three muscles which make up the buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.  The three muscles originate from the ilium and sacrum and insert on the femur.

Gluteus Maximus

When we talk booty we’re usually referring to the gluteus maximus — it’s a huge powerhouse. It’s not only your most sizable gluteal muscle, but it’s also one of the biggest muscles in the human body. And, because it’s located close to the body’s surface, it’s responsible for the butt’s rounded shape and prominent appearance.

The gluteus maximus originates from the hip bone and tailbone, and connects to the femur (thigh bone) and iliotibial (IT) band. It’s main job is extension, but it also aids in lateral rotation: walking, sprinting, climbing stairs, ice skating.

Gluteus Medius

Located on the upper, outer section of your rear, the gluteus medius is tasked with abducting (lifting to the side) and rotating the leg. It also works to stabilise your pelvis while you walk or run.

Shaped like a fan, the gluteus medius originates at the hip bone and connects to the upper portion of the femur.

Gluteus Minimus

Like the gluteus medius, the gluteus minimus plays a role in stabilising the pelvis and rotating the leg. It’s the smallest of the three glute muscles, originating from the hip bone and connecting to the top of the femur.


The piriformis is considered a “deep” gluteal muscle. Located under the gluteus minimus and within close proximity of the sciatic nerve, the band-like piriformis originates at the sacrum and connects to the top of the femur. It also aids in lower-limb abduction when the hip is flexed and lateral rotation.

Functional Personal Training

Why Are My Glutes Tight?

Tight glutes: in theory, we want them. We spend hours squatting and lunging to get a toned, pert butt

However, intense lower-body exercises can cause soreness in the gluteus maximus muscle. The issue is often in the piriformis muscle (located deep underneath the glute muscles), which helps to externally rotate the femur and aids in abduction when the hip is flexed (drawing the leg away from the body’s midline).

The glutes can become tight after

  • sitting for long periods of time
  • delayed muscle soreness after exercising
  • poor posture
  • poor form while exercising
  • stress on the muscle from striding, jumping, or running

A Balancing Act

Your muscles are in a constant tug-of-war, when one set extends a bone or limb, the opposing set flexes. An imbalance between the muscles results in one set that is too loose and another set that is too tight.  Shortening a muscle for a long period of time, makes it tight.


Try these stretches to loosen the glutes and hip-flexors. If you are still experiencing occasional backache and you live in New Malden or the surrounding area, then please contact me for a Functional Personal Training consulatation.


Rachel Law runs a Functional Personal Training practice in New Malden. To book an appointment or consultation you can contact Rachel here