Workout Plans spotlight Muscles

Gluteus Medius Exercises for Safe Outdoor Exercise

Dana Bender
Dana Bender
0

It's officially summertime which means more opportunities for outdoor exercise. During this time of year, outdoor exercise enthusiasts enjoy more frequent runs and walks to maximize the time spent enjoying the warmer weather.

To be as prepared as possible for this transition, outdoor exercisers need to train the glute muscles, which help reduce the risk of injury and enhance stability in the hips for improved exercise performance.

Although glute strength and hip stability are essential for indoor and outdoor exercise, having strong hip stability is crucial as the volume and duration of outdoor exercise increase.

Also, follow the link to this blog, if you want to increase the size of your glutes

What is the Gluteus Medius?

The gluteus medius muscle is primarily responsible for internal and external rotation of the hip, abduction of the hip, and stabilization of the hip and pelvis while performing the weight-bearing movement.

During walking and running, the gluteus medius muscle contracts to stabilize the pelvis, which helps prevent asymmetry on the opposite side of the hip. This stability is essential for single-leg movements and stride and plays a role in preventing the knees from knocking in towards the body's midline.

Although this is not the only factor related to the knock knee position, gluteus medius muscle weakness in the hip rotation of the femur can be a contributing factor.

Why Does The Glute Medius Become Weak?

For many individuals, the gluteus medius muscle becomes weak due to increased sitting and a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting too often can increase hip flexor tightness and reduce glute muscle strength. Furthermore, this tightness and muscular weakness combined with a lack of targeted strength work can increase the chance of injury while performing the outdoor exercise.

It is essential to incorporate regular strengthening and mobility exercises for this muscle group as part of a weekly exercise routine. The good news is that regularly minimizing pain from overuse and reducing the chance of injury from muscular weakness or tightness.

How to Strengthen the Gluteus Medius

To strengthen the glute medius, it is vital to activate, strengthen, and mobilize this muscle. This can help exercisers effectively train for their exercise goals and sustain outdoor exercise routines pain-free. While incorporating resistance training for this muscle group, performing all exercises through the full range of motion and a slow controlled cadence is essential.

Additionally, individuals should remember to maintain a neutral spine and keep the abdominals engaged. Taking this approach will help isolate the gluteus medius and maximize the effect of the exercises performed.

Included below is a strength and mobility routine that can help prepare outdoor exercisers for their increased physical activity outdoors.

Glute Medius Activation Exercises:

1. Supine Glute Bridge

Prescription: 2 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Set-up: Lay on your back facing up towards the ceiling. Place the arms long by the sides of the body, knees bent, feet on the floor hip width apart, toes and knees pointing straight ahead.

Action: Press down evenly into the feet and lift the hips up towards the sky while keeping the pelvis neutral. Slowly lower the hips with control until the pelvis is hovering off the ground. Press back up with control towards the ceiling through full range of motion. Repeat for the entire set.

2. Supine Single leg Glute Bridge

Prescription: 2 sets of 10-12 repetitions each leg

Set-up: Lay on your back facing up towards the ceiling. Place the arms long by the sides of the body, knees bent, feet on the floor hip width apart, toes and knees pointing straight ahead.

Action: Start in the glute bridge set-up position and extend one leg up towards the sky directly above the pelvis. Shift bodyweight onto the stabilizing leg while keeping the hips level and neutral. Press the pelvis up towards the sky through full range of motion. Slowly lower the hips with control until the pelvis is hovering off the ground. Repeat for the entire set.

3. Supine Single leg Glute Bridge

Prescription: Hold 15-30 seconds each side – 1 to 2 times through

Set-up: Lay on your back facing up towards the ceiling. Place the arms long by the sides of the body, knees bent, feet on the floor hip width apart, toes and knees pointing straight ahead.

Action: Start in the glute bridge set-up position and extend one leg up towards the sky directly above the pelvis. Shift bodyweight onto the stabilizing leg while keeping the hips level and neutral. Press the pelvis up towards the sky through full range of motion. Hold the single leg glute bridge position without letting the hips drop. Isometrically contract the stabilizing glute muscle the entire time.

Strengthening Exercises for the Gluteus Medius:

1. Standing Squats (Perform this exercise with a versa loop band resistance)

Prescription: 2 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Set-up: Place the versa loop band (using the preferred resistance level) an inch above the knees. Stand tall with a neutral spine, abdominals engaged, feet hip width apart, toes and knees straight ahead.

Action: Initiate the hip hinge movement from the hips and hinge the hips back as if you are sitting in a chair; weight centered on the feet, spine as neutral as possible, knees and toes remain straight ahead.

After hinging back through full range of motion, press the hips back up to stand, spine and pelvis stay neutral. Resist the outer legs into the versa loop band during both parts of the movements. Repeat for the entire set.

2. Monster Walks (Perform this exercise while using a versa loop band)

Prescription: Walk 2x each direction

Set-up: Place the versa loop band an inch above the knees (using the preferred resistance level). Start by standing tall in a neutral spine. Engage the glutes, bend the knees slightly and sink down as if sitting in a chair.

Action: Maintaining the squat position the whole exercise, start to walk to one side taking small, micro-steps with both feet. Keep tension of the versa loop the whole time to sustain the resistance evenly through both legs. Keep the steps small to maximize the engagement into the bands. Keep the toes and knees pointing straight ahead, both legs working as evenly as possible.

3. Side lying clam shells (This can be done as bodyweight clams or with using a versa loop band)

Prescription: 2 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Set-up: If using the versa loop band, place the band slightly above the knees. Lay on one side with shoulders, hips, and heels stacked with the knees bent at a 90 degree angle slightly below the navel. Rest the head on the bottom arm, or slightly prop the head by the bottom hand with the elbow and forearm supported with the floor. Keep the spine as neutral as possible, abdominals engaged.

Action: Externally rotate the hip by squeezing the glutes and pressing the top hip up into the versa loop band without the heels coming apart or letting the spine or bodyweight rock backward. Resist into the band through a full range of motion. Slowly control the movement and lower the knee back to the starting position while keeping tension on the versa loop band. Repeat for the entire set.

Mobility Exercise for the Gluteus Medius:

1. Supine Figure Four Glute Stretch (Make sure to stretch both sides)

Prescription: hold 30-45 seconds each side

Set-up: Lie on the back facing up towards the ceiling, knees bent, feet on the floor hip width apart, toes and knees pointing same direction.

Action: Cross the right ankle past the left thigh, with the knee widening out to the side. Option one: keep the left foot on the floor. Keep the left foot stationary on the floor if you feel the stretch in the glutes enough here. To intensify the stretch, wrap the hands around the left thigh and pull the left leg towards the chest without changing the spine's alignment. Hold for 30-45 seconds. Repeat on the second side.

The Author

Dana Bender

Dana Bender

Dana Bender, MS, NBC-HWC, ACSM, E-RYT. Dana Bender works as a fitness and wellness Program Manager for HealthFitness in Chicago. Dana is also a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, an Adjunct Professor with Rowan University, an E-RYT 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher, AFAA Group Exercise Instructor, ACSM Exercise Physiologist, and ACE Personal Trainer. Learn more about Dana at www.danabenderwellness.com.