This video is good to watch before proceeding! This just explains where your glutes are in relation to your pelvis, to help you target them a little bit better.
This exercise is trying to activate a very important glute / buttock muscle, your gluteus medius. This muscle is very important and is often underactive, overlengthened and weak. The gluteus medius can also be a substantial source of low back, buttock and hip pain.
What you should feel
We are trying to engage the gluteus medius muscle, which is located where the back pocket of your pants would be. When you perform this exercise, you need to feel the muscle in the “back pocket” region doing the work and eventually fatiguing. You want to feel like you got a workout out of this muscle. If you are feeling the workout lower down, closer to your hip or thigh, OR if you’re feeling this into your lower back, then you are probably not doing this correctly. Sometimes we need to change up how this exercise is performed or perform some additional cuing / treatment within the clinic to help activate this muscle a bit more, if you are struggling.
Stop this exercise if you are unsure about what you are feeling or if it is painful in an unexpected way.
Gluteus Medius Activation
Here are the instructions and there is a video below that explains it all:
- Ly perfectly on your side, legs stacked on top of one another.
- Slightly bend your bottom knee to give yourself some support.
- Roll your entire body forward slightly (maintain this position throughout the exercise).
- Place your top hand in the “back pocket area” of your buttocks. This is where your gluteus medius muscle is (you may end up using your hand to feel for this muscle during the exercise, to help it work better).
- Lift your top leg up towards the ceiling and slightly behind you.
- Maintain the rolled forward position (to not let your pelvis start tipping backwards).
- Do not lift up too high. If you go up too high, you will feel this into your lower back. We are isolating the movement to the hip joint only.
- Lower your leg to the starting position.
mdkPHYSIO provides specific parameters to all patients. In general, we are counting to 3 seconds on the way up and to 3 seconds on the way down, and repeating until fatigue. Sometimes I may ask you to hold it when you get to the top. Sometimes we will do up to 2-3 sets, or perform this with resistance. The parameters totally depend on a variety of factors!