Isometric Gluteus Medius Strengthening Exercise

Get Your Glutes to Function Properly with Isometric Exercise

The isometric gluteus medius strengthening exercise.
Use a best to provide resistance during the isometric gluteus medius exercise. Brett Sears, PT, 2015

Keeping your hips strong is essential to maintain proper hip health, appropriate functional mobility, and, in some cases, maximal athletic performance.  There are several exercise programs you can do to improve the strength of the muscles around your hip.  Some programs are for beginners, and other programs offer advanced hip strengthening exercises.

Your gluteus medius muscle is one of the more important muscles that helps stabilize your hips and pelvis.

 It is located on the side of your hip and is active when lifting your leg out to the side.   It works to keep your pelvis level when you are standing on one leg or when you are walking and running.

Weakness or poor neuromuscular control of your gluteus medius muscles may cause problems such as:

Some research indicates that your gluteus medius muscle is responsible for helping to maintain your leg in the optimum position while running, jumping, or landing from a jump.  Weakness or poor neuromuscular recruitment of your gluteus medius muscles may cause your hips and knees to turn inwards, placing increased stress through your hip, knee, and ankle joints.

One of the main goals of a hip strengthening program should be to maximize function of your gluteus medius muscles.  The isometric gluteus medius exercise is one exercise that can help build a foundation for strong glutes.

What Does the Isometric Gluteus Medius Strengthening Exercise Do?

If you have hip pain, knee pain, or calf and ankle pain, have your physical therapist check the strength of your gluteus medius muscles.  If they are weak, start strengthening them by performing the isometric gluteus medius exercise.  The exercise helps to:

  • Improve neuromuscular recruitment and firing of the muscle fibers of your gluteus medius.
  • Strengthen your gluteus medius in specific ranges of motion.
  • Ensure proper positioning of your hips and legs when performing more advanced hip exercises.

Basically, the isometric gluteus medius exercise should be the foundation of any simple or advanced hip strengthening program.

Performing the Isometric Gluteus Medius Strengthening Exercise

To perform the isometric gluteus medius strengthening exercise, follow these simple instructions.

  • Obtain a belt, loop it, and secure it around both of your ankles.
  • Lie on one side.  The gluteus medius muscle that you are exercising should be on top.
  • Keep both legs straight, and with the belt around your ankles, lift your top leg up.  You should lift up until there is tension on the belt around your ankles.
  • When the belt is tight, press gently into it and contract your gluteus muscles on the side of your hips.
  • Hold the contraction for 6 seconds, and then slowly release the tension by lowering your leg.
  • Repeat the exercise for 6 more repetitions, and then turn over to your other side and repeat the exercise for your other hip.

The exercise can be repeated 2 to 3 times per day to help improve neuromuscular recruitment of your gluteus medius muscles.  Once your glute strength has improved, you can move on to more advanced hip strengthening exercises.  You may wish to keep performing the isometric gluteus medius exercise a few times per week to maintain the gains you have made with your glute strength.

Keeping your hips strong can help you prevent many musculoskeletal problems with your hips, knees, and ankles.  Strong glutes help keep your kinetic chain from collapsing when you are running and jumping. Your knees should remain over your toes when you land from a jump. By performing the isometric gluteus medius strengthening exercise, you can be sure to have a strong foundation on which to build your hip strengthening program.

Before starting this, or any other exercise program, speak with your doctor to ensure that exercise is safe for you to do.  A visit to your physical therapist for a thorough hip assessment may also be in order before starting the isometric gluteus medius strengthening exercise.

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