Gluteal strengthening

Gluteal strengthening is vital in treating so many leg injuries and physical ailments. Here is why.

First Things First: A basic lesson on Gluteal Anatomy

Gluteus maximus = In other words, the buttocks. It is a very powerful muscle and it not only extends the hip, but also controls for motions like lunges and squats.

 Gluteus medius and minimus = These muscles reside on the side of your hip and their action lifts the leg sideways but also controls for collapse of your trunk to the side when you are standing on one leg.

So why strengthen the Gluteal muscles?

1) Because it helps with knee pain.

– It has been shown through numerous studies that bending the hips while doing a squat or landing from a jump significantly decreases knee joint forces, thereby reducing pressure on already-thin or torn knee cartilage.

-Additionally, running gait mechanics studies have shown that weak glutes in runners causes a marked increase in quad use and quad demand for locomotion. This excessive use of the quads could lead to knee joint pain, patello-femoral pain syndrome and quadriceps tendinitis.

-The Gluteus Medius and Minimus are also very important muscles in helping to avoid medial collapse of the knee, or “knock-kneed” gait – both that cause excessive angles at the knee and at the foot that are harmful to soft tissue and ligamentous structures.

2) Because the Gluteus Maximus is a very powerful shock absorber.

– While running, squatting or jumping, bending at the hip and waist allows the forces of landing to attenuate through the large muscle group, thereby reducing the ground reaction forces at the joints that are prone to injury: the ankle, the knee and the spine. People who run and walk with a very stiff-legged gait don’t attenuate this shock very well and eventually end up with stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, and joint pain from excessive landing pressure.

– The glutes, being excellent shock absorbers, can also offload the excessive loading the of calf muscles, which are already heavily utilized during running. This could be very helpful for the long-distance runner who is prone to calf strains.

3) Because trunk stability and strength depends heavily on a stable pelvis, that is bolstered by good glute strength.

– Weak gluteus medius and minimus usually causes not only an excessive pelvic drop but also the trunk to lean over to the side to compensate. This contributes to lumbar facet joint compression and compensatory back muscle activity, thus leading to dreaded back pain.

– Also, the glutes are heavily depended on when performing squats and lifts. Such in the case of picking up a heavy load from the ground, without adequate glute strength one would hinge at the waist to lift. This is dangerous and could exacerbate already-present back pain and may even cause issues as serious as a lumbar disc herniation.

– In sciatic problems, strengthening the Gluteus Maximus decreases work done by the piriformis muscle when walking. This is helpful because the piriformis muscle sits on top of sciatic nerve and relieving tension here would relieve pressure on the nerve.

4) Because a stronger Gluteus Medius will help with IT Band Syndrome.

– IT Band Syndrome is caused by excessive hip adduction (angle the thigh towards the middle) while walking or running. This event is mediated by the hip abductors, namely gluteus medius and minimus.

So how can a Physical Therapist help me strengthen my Glutes?

 A Physical Therapist can guide you through the specific exercises needed for your weakness and your pain condition. As you can see, gluteal strengthening is very helpful in various conditions and may be the key in getting rid of your pain. We can design exercises that fit functionally into your activity, be it running, soccer or even doing the laundry. We can also watch and guide you in adjusting your gait mechanics through gait analysis and gait training to bias the gluteal muscles.


– The Science of Running Symposium, CA 2013.

– Tsai and Powers, American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2013.

– Noehren et al, Clinical Biomechanics, 2007.

By Alice Holland, DPT.
Alice’s Google + page.

Doctor of Physical Therapy, Director at Stride Strong Physical Therapy

Ana Lucia Pinheiro
Ana Lucia Pinheiro
02:18 20 Oct 17
This place is amazing. I am so happy I found Stride Strong PT. Alice pays attention to all of the details, she watches every single move I make, my posture, and the way I move through every exercise. She is very knowledgeable, she was able to pin-point the problems in my back and she has a plan to help me become stronger where I need. The place is brand new, huge, and has nice exercise machines. I tried a few physical therapists in the area, and Alice is TOP, second to none, and I feel super lucky to have found her. Highly recommended!!
Prashant Gupta
Prashant Gupta
01:00 02 Oct 17
Dr. Alice at Stride Strong is one of the best PTs I have come across. Her attention to detail and assessment of the root cause of injury is very good. She is excellent in evaluating pain patterns and giving a training schedule for a rehab & injury prevention, she is extremely knowledgeable. I would strongly recommend Stride Strong to anyone looking for PT. It is easily the best PT clinics in Hillsboro area.
steven zollin
steven zollin
20:57 14 Sep 17
Highly recommend Stride Strong Physical Therapy , Alice showed me proper form to assist in recovery with my shoulder and is very knowledgeable.
Lindsay Nied
Lindsay Nied
23:33 18 Dec 17
I recently had a massage from Joel at the Hillsboro location. He was able to work on an ongoing issue I have been experiencing with my back after a sports injury, and I left feeling so much better. The whole facility looked incredible, and everyone I met was friendly and welcoming. I would highly recommend Stride Strong for massage and physical therapy.
JoAnn Hatch
JoAnn Hatch
08:20 08 Nov 17
Dr. Sydney is by far the absolute best physical therapist I've worked with ever! Her expertise in designing highly effective and efficient exercise plans is beyond compare. I feel so much better as my strength and function increases. She comes up with the most brilliant and fun ideas to motivate. To my delight she even offered to come to my home in Vancouver and work with me on my own equipment including a Stott Pilates Reformer. Talk about going above and beyond! Couldn't be more grateful I found her!!!
Clare Perry
Clare Perry
21:58 23 Oct 17
A full hour of a dedicated PT professional's time without aides or techs? That's just one of the things that sets this clinic apart from others. Competent, professional, and amiable, Dr. Alice Holland and her team are the best in the area. While I generally see them at the Cedar Mill Clinic on Cornell, situational constraints took me to their new Hillsboro clinic today near Intel Jones Farm. Beautifully furnished, spacious with easy parking and access. May you continue to grow and thrive, Stride Strong!
Joyce Heideman
Joyce Heideman
08:28 11 May 18
After foot surgery I went to Stride Strong for therapy with Alice Holland. She helped me reach my full mobility again by continuously introducing new and challenging exercises. The entire staff is friendly and professional. They are always on time and do not rush. I look forward to doing 1/2 marathons again and riding my recumbent trike. Thank you Stride Strong for your care and high level of expertise.
Suad Daher
Suad Daher
20:48 28 Feb 18
The best physical therapy ever. Both JP and Sydney were a great PT, they helped me understand how I can help treat my injury and how it may have caused. And also they informed about so many techniques that I can use to help my injuries or any other injuries I get in the near future. They are both friendly and nice to talk too, and verbunformative. And there is also Krystal, she is the best front desk receptionist ever, she is nice and friendly and can easily manage your schedule based on the patients comfort if they want to schedule or not. She can help and she replies fast to any patients email. And she is easy to talk to. Thank you Stride Strong Physical Therapy.
Amanda O'Rourke
Amanda O'Rourke
21:38 15 Jun 18
In just a month I've seen great progress! I've been incorporating the exercises taught to me into my daily workout routine. Im very happy with my continued results.
Albert Szal
Albert Szal
23:43 10 Jun 18
Mary Szal here: I've had three sessions with Brittany at the Hillsboro location. I can say that she has been the most effective and instructive physical therapist I've ever experienced. Her personality, energy, knowledge and results are top notch.
Osa Phiangdae
Osa Phiangdae
00:05 22 Mar 18
Awesome place for PT. Hillsboro location has plenty of parking and very spacious. I had the pleasure to work mostly with Dr. Alice Holland and JP. I came in with a shoulder injury and thank goodness they understood what I was going through. They are the best of what they do, I would recommend Stride Strong to anyone who needs PT.
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