Gluteal Muscle Activation During Common Therapeutic Exercises.

Distefano LJ, Blackburn JT, Marshall SW, Padua DA

The objective of this study was to quantify and compare electromyographic signal amplitude of the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius muscles during exercises of varying difficulty to determine which exercise most effectively recruits these muscles. Surface electromyography was used to quantify the activity level of the gluteal muscles in 21 healthy, physically active subjects while performing 12 exercises. Gluteus medius activity was significantly greater during side-lying hip abduction compared to the 2 types of hip clam, lunges, and hop exercises. The single-limb squat and single-limb deadlift activated the gluteus medius and maximus similarly. The gluteus maximus activation during the single-limb squat and single-limb deadlift was significantly greater than during the lateral band walk, hip clam, and hop  exercises.

The best exercise for the gluteus medius was side-lying hip abduction, while the single-limb squat and single-limb deadlift exercises led to the greatest activation of the gluteus maximus. These results provide information to the clinician about relative activation of the gluteal muscles during specific therapeutic exercises that can influence exercise progression and prescription

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2009;39(7):532-540

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