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A Top Priority for Runners: Gluteus Medius

Hello from Peak Endurance performance & physical therapy. My name is Jennifer, I’m one of the therapists here and today I want to talk to you about why hip strength is so important for low back, hip, knee and ankle health, especially in runners. Today we’re gonna talk about a muscle called gluteus medius, which lies kind of on the outside of your hip. We call it Glute Meade for short. What this muscle does is: if you’re standing on one foot, it keeps your hips level – if it’s strong and activating at the right time. If you have a glute meade that’s not as strong as you need it to be or just not activating at the right time, what can happen is in the single leg position, your hip drops down. When we think about a task, like running, where you’re basically jumping from one foot to the other, what’s happening with your hips, is they’re going side to side, and all that extra motion can really irritate the low back, the hips themselves, and some things down the chain.

For example, if we’re standing on one leg, and all of a sudden the hip drops down, the knee goes in rather than straight over your foot. Subsequently down the chain to the ankle and foot: the foot really rolls inward – over pronates – as you’re on that leg.

Hip strength is a great thing to work on, for pretty much any lower body ailments you could be experiencing when you’re running. One of my favorite strengthening exercises for glute meade is Monster Walks. You use a short band, put it around the balls of your feet, the further away you are from the joint you’re working, the harder it’s going to be. If we’re working the hips, around the balls of the feet is better than at the knees or the ankles, like a lot of people do for Monster Walks. You want a slight bend in the knees, and then, keep tension on that band the whole time, stepping side-to-side. All right, I hope you enjoyed learning about glute meade and how it affects the whole body. We’ll see you next time.

Here at Peak Endurance Performance & Physical Therapy we help active adults in the Madison Area get back to the activities they love without pain or limitations. We see people of all ages, ability levels, and individuals trying to get back to a multitude of movements including: getting back into running, women postpartum, CrossFit athletes, climbers, gymnasts, wrestlers, overhead athletes, and your recreational weekend warrior. If you’re looking to get back to the activities that give you meaning, relieve stress, and make you feel like you again, feel free to reach out below and we’ll see if we’re the right fit for you.