Isometric Gluteus Medius Strengthening Exercise

Get Your Glutes to Function Properly With Isometric Exercise

Keeping your hips strong is essential to maintaining balance and posture, including during your regular day-to-day activities and when you're exercising. Proper hip mobility is important since it can affect the entire kinetic chain of movement.

There are several exercise programs you can do to improve the strength of the muscles around your hip. Some programs are for beginners, and other programs offer advanced hip strengthening exercises.

The isometric gluteus medius strengthening exercise.
Use a best to provide resistance during the isometric gluteus medius exercise. Brett Sears, PT, 2015

Your gluteus medius muscle is one of the more important muscles that ​helps stabilize your hips and pelvis. It is located on the side of your hip and is active when lifting your leg out to the side. It works to keep your pelvis level when you are standing on one leg or when you are walking and running.

Weakness or poor neuromuscular control of your gluteus medius muscles may cause problems such as:

Some research indicates that your gluteus medius muscle is responsible for helping to maintain your leg in the optimum position while running, jumping, or landing from a jump. Weakness or poor neuromuscular recruitment of your gluteus medius muscles may cause your hips and knees to turn inwards, placing increased stress on your hip, knee, and ankle joints.

One of the main goals of a hip strengthening program should be to maximize the function of your gluteus medius muscles. The isometric gluteus medius exercise is one exercise that can help build a foundation for strong glutes.

What the Exercise Does

If you have hip pain, knee pain, or calf and ankle pain, ask your physical therapist to check the strength of your gluteus medius muscles. If they are weak, you can start strengthening them by performing the isometric gluteus medius exercise.

The exercise helps to:

  • Improve neuromuscular recruitment and firing of the muscle fibers of your gluteus medius.
  • Improve range of motion.
  • Ensures the proper positioning and form in the hips and legs when performing more advanced hip exercises.

The isometric gluteus medius exercise should be the foundation of any simple or advanced hip strengthening program.

Before starting the isometric gluteus medius strengthening exercise, or any other exercise program, speak with your healthcare provider to ensure that exercise is safe for you to do. 

Performing the Exercise

To perform the isometric gluteus medius strengthening exercise, follow these simple instructions.

  • Obtain a belt, loop it, and secure it around both of your ankles.
  • Lie on one side. The gluteus medius muscle that you are exercising should be on top.
  • Keep both legs straight, and with the belt around your ankles, lift your top leg up. You should lift up until there is tension on the belt around your ankles.
  • When the belt is tight, press gently into it and contract your gluteus muscles on the side of your hips.
  • Hold the contraction for six seconds, and then slowly release the tension by lowering your leg.
  • Repeat the exercise for six more repetitions, and then turn over to your other side and repeat the exercise for your other hip.

The exercise can be repeated two to three times per day to help improve neuromuscular recruitment of your gluteus medius muscles. Once your glute strength has improved, you can move on to more advanced hip strengthening exercises. You may wish to keep performing the isometric gluteus medius exercise a few times per week to maintain the gains you have made with your glute strength.

A Word From Verywell

Keeping your hips strong can help you prevent many musculoskeletal problems with your hips, knees, and ankles. Strong glutes help keep your kinetic chain from collapsing when you are running and jumping. By performing the isometric gluteus medius strengthening exercise, you can be sure to have a strong foundation on which to build your hip strengthening program.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  6. DeJong AF, Koldenhoven RM, Hart JM, Hertel J. Gluteus medius dysfunction in females with chronic ankle instability is consistent at different walking speedsClinical Biomechanics. 2020;73:140-148. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2020.01.013

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By Brett Sears, PT
Brett Sears, PT, MDT, is a physical therapist with over 20 years of experience in orthopedic and hospital-based therapy.