No published studies have compared muscle activation levels simultaneously for the gluteus maximus and medius muscles of stance and moving limbs during standing hip joint strengthening with the use of elastic tubing resistance. Therefore, the authors conducted this study to quantify activation levels bilaterally of the gluteus maximus and medius during resisted lower extremity (LE) standing exercises using elastic tubing for the (1) cross-over, (2) reverse cross-over, (3) front-pull, and (4) back-pull exercise conditions. 26 active and healthy individuals, 13 men (25 ± 3 years) and 13 women (24 ±1) participated. Patients completed 3 consecutive repetitions of LE exercises in random order. Surface electromyographic (EMG) signals were normalized to peak activity in the maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) trial and expressed as a percentage. Magnitudes of EMG recruitment were analyzed with a 2 x 4 repeated-measures ANOVA for each muscle (α = .05). For the gluteus maximus an interaction between exercise and limb factor was significant (F3,75 = 21.5; p< 0.001). The moving limb gluteus maximus was more activated than the stance limb while performing the back-pull exercise (p< 0.001) and moving limb gluteus maximus muscle recruitment was greater for the back-pull exercise when compared to cross-over, reverse cross-over, and front-pull exercises (p < 0.001). For the gluteus medius an interaction between exercise and limb factor was significant (F3,75 = 3.7; p< 0.03). Gluteus medius muscle recruitment (% MVIC) was greater in the stance limb than moving limb when performing the front-pull exercise (p<0.001). Moving limb gluteus medius muscle recruitment was greater for the reverse cross-over exercise when compared to cross-over, front-pull, and back-pull exercises (p<0.001).
The authors concluded that the from a clinical perspective there isn’t any therapeutic benefit to selectively activate the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius muscles on the stance limb by resisting sagittal and frontal plane hip movements on the moving limb using resistance supplied by elastic tubing.