Schedule an Appointment

Modern culture and lifestyle often mean that many of us sit…sometimes almost all day. Whether in the office, in traffic, at home or just relaxing, sitting frequently can weaken an important muscle – the gluteus medius.

What is the Gluteus Medius

The gluteus medius is a highly functional muscle that helps with hip movement and should not be confused with the gluteus maximus. It sits along the outer surface of the ilium, near the pelvis, between the posterior and middle gluteal lines. In total there are three gluteal muscles that make up the buttocks and originate from the ilium and sacrum: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.

Besides leveling your hips, the gluteus medius has an important job in biomechanics, stability, and balance.  When you walk and run it aids in stabilizing your pelvis, in particular when you perform activities where you balance on a single leg. If the gluteus medius is weak, it can cause the hip that is not part of the standing leg to drop, and this can cause an abnormal gait and other issues. It’s important to work on exercises specifically designed to keep the gluteus medius strong and healthy.

What does the gluteus medius do?

Turns the leg in and out

Moves the leg to the side


What are a few links between Gluteus Medius weakness and pathologies?

Knee osteoarthritis

Patellofemoral pain syndrome

Chronic low back pain


What are exercises for Gluteus Medius?  (ranging from easier to more difficult)


Bilateral supine bridge

Prone hip extension with a flexed knee

Side lying hip abduction performed in a position of neutral

Side lying hip abduction with Medial Rotation

Side lying hip abduction with Lateral Rotation

Standing hip abduction

Transverse lunge

Standing hip circumduction

Single limb deadlift

Side bridge

Unilateral side bridge with added hip abduction


What should I think about as I’m doing these exercises?

Activating the muscle, which you are strengthening – think about contracting (squeezing) gluteus medius

To increase the benefit from the exercises, activate your core (draw your belly button to your spine and contract your abdominals, including the portion of your abdominals between your pelvic bones)

Mary Jean McKinnon, PTA, is a physical therapy assistant with OrthoCarolina’s Eastover PT office. 

Mary Jean McKinnon, PTA



March 20, 2022

Thank you for this information! I have been more sedentary over the last couple of years. Recently I have begun walking more again and you have helped me pinpoint my discomfort and make a plan for exercises. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!!
- Julie Haun
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

April 01, 2022

We are so proud of you and glad to hear that you found this helpful!

September 03, 2021

You all have done a knee replacement and a reverse shoulder replacement for me in the past. I have a torn gluteus medius related to a previous l4&5 fusion and chronic low back pain. Your article is the best I've read to explain the functionality of this muscle and how it operates the hip. Thank you.
- Cathy keup

January 11, 2021

Now more or less confined to wheelchair due to childhood polio and suffering almost constant bad ache. Your article has enabled me to pinpoint exactly where the pain is and therefore tell the doctor and hopefully get some relief. Thank you.
- Janet