Gluteus Medius

Gluteus Medius is the prime mover of abduction at hip joint. Beyond these hip movements, it significantly contributes to weight transfer and maintaining balance during ambulation. Given its critical role in everyday activities like walking, running, and climbing stairs, any weakness in the gluteus medius can not only affect these activities but may also result in back pain.

Woman working on gluteus medius muscle
Anatomy, Gluteus Medius

Gluteus Medius

Anatomy

[Origin]

  • External surface of ilium between anterior and posterior gluteal lines

[Insertion]

  • Lateral surface of greater trochanter of femur

    [Action]

    • Adduct and medially rotate hip; keep pelvis level when ipsilateral limb is weight-bearing and advance opposite side during its swing phase

    Clinical Relevance

    Lateral Fascial Sling

    Glutes medius is an extremely important muscle in maintaining frontal plane stability of the pelvis. It forms, with the ipsilateral tensor fascia latae and contralateral quadratus lumborum, a lateral fascial sling whose main role is to provide frontal plane stability.

    Gluteus Medius Weakness/Inhibition

    Gluteus medius muscle can get weakened or inhibited by trivial habits in your daily life:

    • Standing with body weight shifted mainly on one lower limb with the pelvis swayed sideways and hip joint adducted.
    • Sleeping sideline with no billow in between two lower extremities will lead to the top leg flexed and adducted over the other leg.
    • Sitting with crossed legs for a long period of time will potentially weaken the hip abductor muscles by putting the muscle in a somewhat elongated position (beyond resting physiological length).

    When Glutes Medius is weakened or inhibited, the body must try to compensate by other muscles to maintain frontal plane stability. Specifically, the activity of ipsilateral tensor fascia latae and contralateral quadratus lumborum will increase, causing these muscles to become tight and overactive, which could lead to knee and lumbar spine dysfunctions.

    ~ Evidence-Based Exercises ~

    According to an EMG study, the exercises that demonstrated significant muscle contractions of Gluteus Medius are;

    • Single-Leg Squat
    • Side Plank
    • Single-Leg Deadlift

     

    Single-Leg Squat

    Man single leg squat

    Side Plank

    woman side plank

    Single-Leg Deadlift

    woman single leg deadlift

    < Reference >