There are three gluteal muscles on the back & lateral side of the pelvis. The gluteus minimus is located deep within the grouping & is the smallest, covered by the gluteus medius, & most superficially, the gluteus maximus. As a muscle group, the glutes internally rotate, externally rotate, abduct, flex & extend the hip, all dependent on where they attach on the femur. Those that attach more towards the front are able to flex & internally rotate the femur at the hip. Those that attach more towards the back are able to extend & externally rotate the femur at the hip.
The glutes provide stability when we walk by contracting & stabilizing the hip to prevent adduction. Because they are so consistently used in our daily activities of walking, running, & cycling, they may often get tight or sticky & can decrease our flexibility & range of motion because they are relied on so heavily for their strength & stabilization.
In backbending postures, contracting the glutes can help give us an additional extension in the hip. In Warrior 1, the glutes resist flexion in the front leg in order to keep the hip from dropping.