The gluteus medius is one of the lesser focused on glute muscles. It is important in all things walking, running and single leg weight bearing. It helps to prevent the pelvis from dropping, while allowing our other leg to swing forward to take the next step.
With assistance from other muscles the glute med also supports the pelvis, maintains stability in the frontal plane and helps produce rotation of the hip during gait.
This muscle can be trained through a combination of isolated movements and functional activities.
Two exercises which can be implemented at different stages of rehab are:
Side Lying Hip Abduction
An isolated exercise, this exercise preferentially targets the glute med as it is responsible for abducting (moving away from the body) when the hip is extended.Using a wall is a great piece of feedback to ensure the hip is in a proper position. Make sure to have your toes pointed to the floor in order to get that glute med firing,
Side lying hip abduction produces the greatest gluteus medius muscle activation. This is because of the long lever arm and the fact that the foot is not supported, (asit is in the popular clam).
In the clam, the hip is in flexion and in this position, the rotation is primarily attributable to gluteus maximus.
By sliding your foot up the wall, you maintain the necessary hip extension to maximally activate gluteus medius.
Side Step Ups
As a more functional activity, this can be a progression for your glute med training.Make sure your pelvis stays neutral and doesn’t drop, (known as a Trendelenburg Sign)
These exercises can be really useful in early stage rehab for many hip and groin issues as well as post-operatively.