It has been mentioned before in this Comox Valley Chiropractor Blog that improper activation of the gluteal muscle can lead to many lower limb issues such as knee pain (patello-femoral syndrome) or IT Band problems. A research study was recently published which sought to establish a group of exercises that were the most effective at activating the gluteal muscles.
The study, published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, measured the EMG (muscle electrical activation) of the gluteus maximus and medius during various exercises. They came up with a group of 5 exercises which are the most effective.
1. Side lying hip abductions – abducting the top leg to 30 degrees. 2. Single leg squats – ensuring the knee stays above the second toe, and start with knee and hip at 30 degrees of flexion. 3. Single leg dead lifts – keep knee bent at 30 degrees to maximize hip and trunk flexion. 4. Lateral band walk – side-stepping against the resistance of a band tied around the ankles. 5. Side-hops – hopping sideways off the non-dominant leg to land on the dominant leg.
These exercises may not be appropriate for all patients and all conditions. Consult a professional in order to determine your diagnosis and any other issues you may have. A good home program lets you achieve the results you desire in terms of stability, with exercises that are easy to do and won’t result in further injury.