When it comes to talking about the gluteus muscles the Glute Max muscles are often mentioned. There are benefits to having a strong glute max however, it is just as important to have a strong functioning glute medius and minimus as well. Glute Max and Glute medius both have three fibers and each fiber has an action and function.
Action of Glute Medius
- Anterior Fibers- Hip Abduction with internal rotation of the femur.
- Medial Fibers – Hip abduction.
- Posterior Fibers – Hip abduction with external rotation of the femur
Closed chain Function
- All three fibers stabilize the pelvis in the frontal plane
Importance of Glute Medius
Lacking in the ability to properly turn your leg in or out can lead to several problems above and below the waste. Issues such as lower back pain or knee pain can be tracked back to a glute medius imbalance. If you can not turn your leg in it can mean that your hips are rotated, or the posterior fibers are so tight that it will not allow for normal range of motion. The same can be said for external rotation in where the hips are rotated the opposite side and or the anterior fibers are tight.
Pelvic stabilization is important because if the pelvis is off there is a good chance your posture and gait is off as well. If one side of your glute medius is stronger than the other, it could put your hips in a hiked position making one leg temporarily longer than the other. Imagine trying to squat or run and one leg is longer than the other. This imbalance creates more musculoskeletal issues all over your body causing pain and limitations in performance.
For some a decent workout program is enough build this area and prevent future problems. For others who are not as active and are dealing with other musculoskeletal issues a workout program may not be enough. If your anterior fiber is the only fiber that can contract and your doing leg abduction exercises, that fiber is the only one that is getting stronger. Therefore, if you continue a regular exercise program you continue to reinforce an imbalance that needs to be corrected. I would recommend you see a Muscle Activation Technique specialist or a Medical Exercise specialist in your area and have each muscle assessed individually to improve balanced contraction through all fibers.