Why is recruitment of the Gluteal Muscles so difficult?
One reason is poor representational area in the primary motor cortex for these muscles! (Dr. Powers)
Here is a great way to improve muscle recruitment of the hip abductors, particularly the gluteus medius!
Evidence suggests that static isometric glute med toque is a poor predictor of frontal plane pelvic drop. You only need a 3/5 MMT of the Gluteus Medius to prevent a Trendelenburg gait pattern yet so many people present with this movement pattern. Hence, it is not so much strengthening, but motor control training that is important to prevent this compensatory movement pattern. This dynamic exercise helps with not only strength but MOTOR CONTROL of the hip abductors.
To perform this exercise:
✅Elevate the leg opposite to the one you want to work on. Allow a majority of your weight to be accepted through the leg that is in contact with the floor
✅Allow your pelvis to drop towards the leg on the elevated surface.
✅Focus on using your hip abductors to bring the pelvis back to a neutral alignment. Use a mirror to allow yourself to perform this with optimal form and progress to the point where you no longer require visual cues.
✅If strength and endurance are the goal then repeat until fatigue!
✅If Motor Control is the goal: REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT for numerous repetitions to make those neuroplastic changes in the brain! This is the only way to increase representation in your primary motor cortex!
If you were to break up teaching a movement into 3 parts: Activation/Strengthening/Movement Training- this exercise would be categorized as an activation drill.
Note: Bolga et al did a study on Pelvic Drop determining a 57%-59& MVIC- That’s Great activation folks!
Shout out to Dr. Fisher at USC for showing us this exercise!
Citation: Isometric Gluteus Medius Muscle Torque and Frontal Plane Pelvic Motion During Running
By: Burnet et al.