Skip to content

Gluteus Maximus Trigger Points | What They Are & How To Fix

 As I write this, I am a victim of Gluteus Maximus Trigger Points. This is not a fun place to be, I am on day 2 of living in the pain cave and things are just starting to look up. Fortunately, I know exactly what is going on under the hood of my low back and glutes, and I implemented a proven battle plan to solve my Gluteus Maximus-induced pain. Here is everything you need to know about Gluteus Maximus trigger points, why they hurt so bad, and most importantly what you can do to get rid of them and out of the pain cave.

gluteus maximus trigger points in action

Me, Suffering From Gluteus Maximus Trigger Points (In Action)


What Are Gluteus Maximus Trigger Points?

Trigger points in the Gluteus Maximus muscle refers to the tight, tense, angry muscle tissue in the Gluteus Maximus muscle constantly straining your joints and body. From experience, I can say Gluteus Maximus Trigger Points create a lot of painful symptoms (see below) and an overall lower quality of life. Simple movements become large ordeals and pain is nearly constant.


How Do I Know If I Have Gluteus Maximus Trigger Points?

There are a variety of patterns and symptoms involved in Gluteus Maximus trigger points and Gluteus Maximus pain. In general, the Gluteal muscles will be extremely tender and stiff, and bending over will be extremely uncomfortable and painful - if possible at all. The pain pattern I experienced from Gluteus Maximus trigger points was mostly localized around the tailbone, but it can be felt all around the pain pattern below:

Gluteus Maximus Trigger Points Pain Pattern

Gluteus Maximus Trigger Point Referred Pain Pattern [1]


Gluteus Maximus Trigger Point Symptoms:

Some other common Gluteus Maximus Trigger Point Symptoms include:

  • Bending over is difficult to impossible [2]
  • Sitting or lying down for periods of time causes extreme stiffness
  • Pain at the top of buttock crack or glute muscles
  • Difficulty rising from sitting [2]


Gluteus Maximus Trigger Point Causes:

Trigger points tend to develop in the Gluteus Maximus muscles via two mechanisms: 1) fatigue, or 2) sudden hard contraction [2].

gluteus maximus trigger points pain

1) Fatigue Trigger Points: I can speak on mechanism 1 from experience, because this is how I ended up with painful, annoying Gluteus Maximus trigger points and why I am writing this article with a hint of rage. A few days ago I was lifting at the gym, working out legs with an emphasis on the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, and lower back). I hit a nice glute and core activation warmup, moved onto some heavy RDLs, and then thought it would be a good idea to hit high-rep barbell goodmornings. This all went well, until my 3rd working set around rep 10 of 15. At this point my whole posterior chain was fatigued, and my posture started to slip. My glutes and lower back were not conditioned for the carnage I placed on them, and my body had no choice but to spasm Gluteus Maximus trigger points to a) protect me, and b) signal me to end the madness. A sharp pain immediately followed and by the next hour I was stiffer than I had been in years.

2) Sudden Hard Strength Trigger Points: The second mechanism typically comes on from a one time event that requires a sudden hard contraction of the Gluteus Maximus muscles. Examples of this include catching yourself during a fall, jumping for the first time in years, or trying to lift a heavy couch [2]. This mechanism will provide immediate feedback that you messed up and something is wrong, and may feel like a sharp jolt around the tailbone, glute, or lower back.

Trigger points and knots are actually a good short term solution for the body because they prevent against serious structural damage of the vertebrae and joints. However, Gluteus Maximus trigger points (among others) are a real pain when they do not simmer down days, weeks, or even years after the initial event. This next section shows you what to do about this.


Gluteus Maximus Trigger Point Release

Now the good stuff. The two steps I recommend taking for optimal Gluteus Maximus trigger point release are 1) massage, and 2) stretch - in that order.

The first step of Gluteus Maximus trigger point release is massage. The point of this step is to physical massage out any knotting, trigger points, tension, or just rigid muscle tissue that holds constant tension in your muscles. Thorough release of the Gluteus Maximus muscle is like bringing slack back to a bungee cord under high tension. When done right this feels very therapeutic.

The first step of massage can be done by a trained physical or massage therapist, or at home with a ball or tool like QL Claw. This step can take a few days or sessions to fully break up the tense tissue. Make sure to focus on tender spots and ease into greater pressure with repetition for the best attack of Gluteus Maximus trigger points.

The second step of Gluteus Maximus trigger point release is stretching. Once trigger point massage is complete, the muscles should be much more susceptible and friendly to stretch. This step will build length in the Gluteus Maximus muscle so that it can be put through more range without re-triggering pain. Here is a great video on how to stretch the Gluteus Maximus muscle: 




[1] Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.

[2] Davies, Clair, and Amber Davies. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. 3rd ed., New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2013.

Leave a comment

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive emails every few days with back pain relief tips, testimonials, and resources