Controlled laboratory study, cross-sectional.BACKGROUND:
The gluteus medius (GMed) and gluteus minimus (GMin) provide dynamic stability of the hip joint and pelvis. These muscles are susceptible to atrophy and injury in individuals during menopause, aging, and disease. Numerous studies have reported on the ability of exercises to elicit high levels of GMed activity; however, few studies have differentiated between the portions of the GMed, and none have examined the GMin.OBJECTIVES:
To quantify and rank the level of muscle activity of the 2 segments of the GMin (anterior and posterior fibers) and 3 segments of the GMed (anterior, middle, and posterior fibers) during 4 isometric and 3 dynamic exercises in a group of healthy, postmenopausal women.METHODS:
Intramuscular electrodes were inserted into each segment of the GMed and GMin in 10 healthy, postmenopausal women. Participants completed 7 gluteal rehabilitation exercises, and average normalized muscle activity was used to rank the exercises from highest to lowest.RESULTS:
The isometric standing hip hitch with contralateral hip swing was the highest-ranked exercise for all muscle segments except the anterior GMin, where it was ranked second. The highest-ranked dynamic exercise for all muscle segments was the dip test.CONCLUSION:
The hip hitch and its variations maximally activate the GMed and GMin muscle segments, and may be useful in hip muscle rehabilitation in postmenopausal women.