This big beautiful muscle seen below is the gluteus medius (or part of the “butt”). It is a powerhouse!
Now the “glut med” as we Physical Therapist’s like to lovingly refer to it, is often a neglected muscle. A patient may come in with complaints of hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain, etc and a culprit of this often lies in the weakness of the glut med. The glut is responsible for keeping the hip up and out. A great schematic demonstrates this action below.
So when the glut is weak we may see the pelvis drop on the opposite side. What this could do is put a lot of stress on the joints further down the chain such as the knee and the ankle (the poor knee tends to get beat up a lot). Some complaints that we may see related to this is ITB syndrome, patella tendonitis, or shin splints. A lot of the time we can trace this back up to the weakness of the glut.
So how do we address this? Below are a few of our favorite go to exercises to isolate this muscle.
Stand in a squat position with a resistance band around your knees and your right foot on the wall behind you. While maintaining that squat position, bring your knee out to the side and then return to the starting position. Repeat on both sides. Your foot will move slightly with the motion. Perform 3x15 each side.
Put a resistance band around your ankles. Stand up tall, with a slight bend in your knees. Step to the side, keeping your toes facing forward, and follow with your other leg. Do this down the length of a hallway or long counter. Go back the other direction (without turning around). Try to keep your torso upright (no leaning side to side as you move). Perform 3 laps
Put a resistance band around your ankles. Take a diagonal step with your left foot. Then bring your right foot to meet it. Then take a diagonal step with your right foot. Continue with that pattern down the length of a hallway. When you get to the end stay facing forward and perform the same pattern but backwards. 3 laps
Lay with your back and leg against the wall in the sideline position, squeeze your butt, and then slowly lift leg towards the ceiling so that the foot skims the side of the wall. Return to starting position and perform 3x10.
Start on your hands and knees. Maintaining the 90-degree angle of your left knee, lift your left leg until the thigh is parallel with your upper body. Hold for 4 seconds, then lower. Make sure you do not let your hips or back rotate. Repeat on both sides for a total of 20 reps.
Start in a side plank position. Then lift your top leg without your body rocking. Hold 5-10 seconds or repeatedly lift the leg up and down for 10-20 reps. Make sure that you do not sway or tilt in your pelvis.
Above are a variety of exercises that help to develop stability in the glut. If you feel that you are having difficulty with these exercises, ongoing pain, or any other functional limitations do not hesitate to reach out for further clarification. Don’t forget….its all about the butt!!