Gluteus Medius Exercises for Weakness

By Drew Heideman, MPT, ATC, PES

Gluteus Medius Weakness

The gluteus medius is a very important muscle located on the outer side of the hip. It acts dynamically when the foot is fixed on the ground to stabilize the pelvis. Weakness is this muscle can contribute to several lower extremity injuries so its strength and muscular endurance are critical to pain-free activity.

weakness in the Gluteus medius can lead to knee pain and back problems. The gluteus medius helps to keep the pelvis level with standing on one leg during walking.

Image of weak gluteus medius







The gluteus medius muscle originates on the iliac crest, or lateral hip bones and runs down to attach the greater trochanter or outer part of the femur. Its action in non-weight bearing positions is to abduct, which is to move the leg away from the midline of the body. It also assists in external rotation of the hip. During closed chain activity, where the foot is fixed on the ground, the muscle acts as a stabilizer of the trunk and pelvis.

Gluteus Medius Weakness.

Image of Gluteus Medius Weakness.








This occurs repeatedly with all daily activities including walking, running, and jumping. The gluteus medius contracts to prevent the downward movement of the pelvis on the opposite side. Its contraction also prevents the knee from moving inwards toward the midline when squatting.

Weakness in this muscle will contribute so several deviations when walking, running or squatting. First, this weakness allows the hip to adduct or move too far to the midline and the knee to move into a valgus or bent-inward position. Secondly, weakness can contribute to internal rotation of the tibia on the foot causing an increased weight transfer to the inside of the foot known as pronation.

What is Abnormal Squat Positioning?

This abnormal positioning as illustrated in this picture can contribute to several overuse injuries over time. First, the inward movement of the hip into adduction can contribute to lateral hip pain or bursitis as the muscles compress the trochanteric bursa. This is more common in older patients.

Weak gluteus medius muscles make the knees collapse inward with squats and can lead to knee problems.

Squat with Bad Knee Position






Second, and most common in running athletes, is lateral knee pain. This occurs because of the bent-inward position of the knee. This allows the iliotibial band to shorten and rub across the lateral femur. It also contributes to the lateral tracking of the patella through an improper line of pull of the quadriceps muscle. Finally, weakness of the gluteus medius can contribute to excessive pronation of the foot and aggravate foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis.

The gluteus medius muscle is critical to mechanically efficient lower extremity movement. Weakness in this muscle can contribute to several mechanical deviations with everyday activity and eventually cause injury. Here are a couple of great exercises for your gluteus medius.

female athlete performing a bridge with exercise band

Gluteus Medius exercise bridge with an exercise band

female athlete performing squat with band around the knees to work the glutes

Gluteus Medius exercise performing a squat with a band

Learn more about how to strengthen the gluteal muscles, Read this article on the 4 BEST GLUTE EXERCISES AT HOME.

Where Do I Go If I am Having Knee, Back, or Hip Problems?

Whether you are suffering from Knee, Back, or Hip issues, joint pain, or injuries resulting from any type of activity, JOI has 12 physical therapy clinics conveniently located in Jacksonville and Northeast FL who specialize in orthopedic rehab.


JOI and JOI Rehab

JOI Physicians continue to offer online new patient appointments. This is another option to make it more convenient to make new patient appointments with less phone hold times. Follow the link below to select your JOI MD and schedule online.

You can still call 904-JOI-2000 to make new patient JOI Physician Appointments if that is your preference.  A new option, you can now schedule and cancel follow-up appointments with your physician at the JOI Patient Portal. 

To make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.

By: Drew Heideman, MPT, ATC, PES

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