The gluteus medius typically gets overshadowed by its highly publicized big brother, the gluteus maximus. Fortunately, it just hired me as its PR agent. This muscle, along with the gluteus maximus, is responsible for stabilizing the hips during all activities involving the lower body. It originates on the gluteal surface of the ilium just inferior to the iliac crest and inserts on the greater trochanter of the femur. Its main functions are abduction and internal rotation of the leg.

Unfortunately, this critical muscle is often found laying on the couch with a bag of chips in hand– in other words, it is lazy and weak.  Some muscles can get away with this type of behavior, but unfortunately a strong glute medius is critical for most sports activities including running, soccer, tennis, hockey and football. In lateral moving sports, the glute medius, along with other hip abductors, are the leg brakes. As the foot plants into the ground to change direction of movement, the hip abductors help decelerate your body and keep your hips from going past your ankles. Multiple studies show that a weak glute medius is associated with chronic ankle sprains[1], reduced plantar flexion, IT band syndrome[2], and an increased risk of ACL injuries[3]. Interested in preventing those injuries and building a strong hip leg complex? Get your glutes in gear with the following Yoga Tune Up® poses to wake up, strengthen and stretch this muscle: jithara parivartonasana variation 3, abductor lifts, and asymmetrical uttanasana. I’ll be posting a video demo of abductor lifts next week to get you started!

[1] J Athl Train. 2006; 41(1): 74–78.)

[2] Clin J Sport Med. 2000 Jul;10(3):169­75.


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