Gluteus Medius Strengthening Exercises

The gluteus medius muscle is one of the muscles on the side of your hip. It resides underneath your gluteus maximus muscle (buttocks muscle), and works with another small muscle, the gluteus minimus, to help support your hip. In the physical therapy world of rehabbing lower extremity injuries, it is super important. *

1. Clamshell

  • Side-lying with both knees bent up. Line up heels with hips and pelvis. Keep pelvis neutral or slightly forward (don’t let it roll backwards or open up).
  • Breathe out, engage core and lift top knee up towards the ceiling slightly.
  • Breathe in and lower slightly.
  • Repeat to fatigue. Aim to feel it in the lateral buttock region of the top leg, sometimes in the bottom buttock as well. Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps.
  • Can add resistance tubing around both knees as a progression.

2. Hip abduction side lying

  • Keep your bottom knee bent to help protect the lower back. The top leg is straight. Pelvis is positioned in neutral or slightly forwards.
  • Breath out, engage core and slowly lift the top leg. Keep the heel of the top leg BEHIND the hip and do NOT let the pelvis roll backwards. Keep your kneecap and toes parallel to the floor, do not let them point downwards.
  • As you lift, think about reaching the top leg towards your heel, as if you are trying to lengthen the leg – this avoids compressing the pelvis up into the ribcage when lifting the leg.
  • Breathe in and slowly lower the leg.
  • Repeat to fatigue, aim for 2-3 sets of 10-20 repetitions. As this becomes easier, you can add a small weight to the ankle (1lb to start) and reduce the repetitions accordingly until the strength improves

3. Side plank

  • Lie on your side and line up the neck, shoulders, pelvis, hips and ankles.
  • Put your bottom elbow under your shoulder. Keep your heels grounded.
  • Lift up through your side body and hips to achieve a good alignment through the spine. Careful not to drive through the shoulders or upper back too heavily.
  • Hold for 5-30 seconds while maintaining good alignment. Repeat to fatigue.
  • If you find that this is exercise is too difficult, try a modified side plank. This is done with the knees bent to shorten the lever.
  • As your endurance and strength improve, you can progress by lifting the top leg. Again ensure that you do not hike up through the pelvis on the top leg, and that you are able to maintain good alignment throughout the bottom leg and spine.

4. Supported stance Gluteus Medius

The picture on the left demonstrates a functioning gluteus medius on the left and not on the right, creating pelvis and lower leg asymmetry. Use this principle with the exercise on the right to build postural endurance with single leg stance. • Snug your body up to a wall on the side opposite to the weakness.

  • Lift the leg closest to the wall, keeping the knee bent 90 degrees and in line 
    with the other knee.
  • Keep the pelvis level. Do not let the hip or pelvis drop.
  • Push the lifted leg into the wall, and hold with the support stance leg.
    You should feel it in the lateral buttock of the stance leg.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds initially, increasing the hold as able.
  • Repeat to fatigue, aiming for 3 sets of 5-10 repetitions.
  • Progress by adding a ball between your knee and the wall.

5. Gluteus Medius Standing with tubing

  • Loop one ankle through tubing with the other side of tubing attached to leg of couch, railing etc.
  • Standing leg – work on controlling stance position, keeping pelvis level and not twisted. You should feel some work in the gluteus medius in stance leg also.
  • Stance leg stands in front of the tubing (different than pictured).
  • Pull tubing back and away from the body, engaging the gluteus medius to help pull the leg away from the body. Should feel it in the lateral buttock of the tubing leg as well as the stance leg.
  • Repeat to fatigue with good technique 3-4 sets of 10-15 repetitions.
  • Repeat on the opposite leg.

6. Sidestep tubing

  • Attach tubing around thighs (easier) or around ankles (harder).
  • Tubing length must generate increased tension with a sidestep motion.
  • Sidestep with a slight squat and pull tubing apart from other leg.
  • Maintain good control in stance leg and keep weight centred between legs.
  • 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps each direction.

For more exercise videos visit this LINK