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J Sport Rehabil. 2019 Feb 12:1-14. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2018-0340. [Epub ahead of print]

Rehabilitation Exercises for the Gluteus Medius Muscle Segments - An Electromyography Study.

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a College of Science, Health & Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.
b School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.



Many different rehabilitation exercises have been recommended in the literature to target the gluteus medius (GMed) muscle based mainly on single electrode, surface electromyography (EMG) measures. With the GMed consisting of three structurally and functionally independent segments there is uncertainty on whether these exercises will target the individual segments effectively.


To measure individual GMed segmental activity during six common, lower-limb rehabilitation exercises in healthy young adults, and determine if there are significant differences between the exercises for each segment.


With fine-wire EMG electrodes inserted into the anterior, middle and posterior segments of the GMed muscle, ten healthy young adults performed six common, lower-limb rehabilitation exercises.


Recorded EMG activity was normalised, then reported and compared for median activity for each of the GMed segments across the six exercises.


For the anterior GMed segment, high activity was recorded for the single leg squat (48% maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC)), the single leg bridge (44% MVIC) and the resisted hip abduction-extension exercise (41% MVIC). No exercises recorded high activity for the middle GMed segment, but for the posterior GMed segment very high activity was recorded by the resisted hip abduction-extension exercise (69% MVIC), and high activity was generated by the single leg squat (48% MVIC) and side-lie hip abduction (43% MVIC). For each of the GMed segments, there were significant differences (P < .05) in the median EMG activity levels between some of the exercises and the side-lie clam with large effect sizes favouring these exercises over the side-lie clam.


Open-chain hip abduction and single-limb support exercises appear to be effective options for recruiting the individual GMed segments with selection dependent on individual requirements. The side-lie clam however doesn't appear to be effective at recruiting the GMed segments particularly the anterior and middle segments.


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