Modern culture and lifestyle often mean that many of us sit – sometimes for the majority of the day. Whether in the office, in traffic, at home or just relaxing, sitting frequently can weaken an important muscle: the gluteus medius.
The gluteus medius is a highly functional muscle that helps with hip movement. It sits along the outer surface of the ilium, near the pelvis, between the posterior and middle gluteal lines.
Besides leveling your hips, the gluteus medius has an important job in biomechanics, stability, and balance. When you walk and run it aids in stabilizing your pelvis, in particular when you perform activities where you balance on a single leg. If this important hip muscle is underactive and weak, it can alter hip, knee and lower-back function, which then lead to lower back pain.
Here are three exercises to help you to work the muscle:
Standing Hip Abduction (with Band or Cable)
Stand in front of a low pulley and attach a cable strap or resistance band to your ankle. Take one step back and turn sideways so that the attached leg is farthest from the anchor point. Balance using a support bar or chair on near leg allowing attached leg to cross in front of standing leg.
Pull attached leg out and up to side as far as possible while keeping torso stationary. Return and repeat. Continue with opposite leg.
Hip Abduction (Machine)
Sit in the abductor machine with legs inside of side pads. If available, place heels on foot bars. Employ lever brace to position legs together. Lie back and grab bars to sides.
Spread legs apart as far as possible. Return and repeat.
Side Crossover (Bands)
Lie on one side. Tie a resistance band to your ankles and keep your legs straight.
Move the top leg from front to back and viceversa by creating a big arch in the middle. Do this by lifting your leg as straight as you can without moving the upper body.