Updated: Aug 31, 2020
In this week of the Staying Active series, we will be going through the simple anatomy, functions, and exercises for our gluteal muscles, specifically the gluteus medius muscle. Gluteus medius is located at our buttock, just deep to the gluteus maximus. Its functions are hip abduction (moving our thigh sideways) and to keep our pelvis level during walking. A strong gluteus medius is essential for a healthy gait pattern. People who have nerve injuries to that muscle or have extreme weakness of the gluteus medius might present the Trendelenberg gait (when standing on one leg, the pelvis on the opposite side tilts down). Such abnormal gait pattern might lead to further problems in our knees and ankles; therefore, it is beneficial to maintain a good strength of our gluteus medius to prevent future musculoskeletal problems
1) Standing Lateral Leg Raises
This is the easiest version out of the three exercises. It is a good starting point for adults and older adults who have never trained their gluteus medius muscle before. For this exercise, stand up tall, put your hands on your hips or against the wall for support, and slowly bring your leg out to the side, then slowly bring the leg back to the centre. To improve muscle strength, individuals should be working at 60-80% of your maximum effort, performing 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions, for 3 non-consecutive days per week. You may rest for 2 minutes in between each set; you can also train the opposite side while you are resting. If you are able to perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions with no difficulty, you may progress to the second, more challenging exercise.
2) Side-Lying Lateral Leg Raises
The starting position for this exercise is to go into a side-lying position with the side you wanted to train facing up the sky. Slightly bend the knee that is closer to the ground, while the top leg remains extended. Put one hand on the hip for stabilization, and the other hand under your head for support. Lift the extended leg up towards the sky and then slowly back down to the original position. You should be able to feel a burn at the gluteal area after 12 repetitions, that means you are working the correct muscle. Follow the same training protocol (number of sets and repetitions) as in the first exercise.
3) Side-Lying Lateral Leg Raises with Resistance Band (+/- Isometric Contraction)
This is the most advanced exercise out of the three exercises, and for individuals who are comfortable with the first two. For this exercise, we start in the same position as in exercise number 2, but with a resistance band wrapped around our thigh. Additionally, individuals can try to hold the leg up for 1-2 seconds before bringing the leg back down. Follow the same training protocol as in the first exercise.
These three exercises target the gluteus medius the most, so make sure you stretch the muscle after the workout. If you feel any tightness or pain in the buttock area, please make an appointment with us and consult with our therapists.
The post is not supposed to replace any medical advice. If you are experiencing any pain, please consult a therapist as soon as possible. You may contact us or make an appointment at 905-771-8882 or firstname.lastname@example.org, we are more than happy to help!