A literature review of studies evaluating gluteus maximus and gluteus medius activation during rehabilitation exercises

Physiother Theory Pract. 2012 May;28(4):257-68. doi: 10.3109/09593985.2011.604981. Epub 2011 Oct 18.


Recently, clinicians have focused much attention on the importance of hip strength for the rehabilitation of not only patients with low back pain but also lower extremity pathology. Properly designing a rehabilitation program for the gluteal muscles requires careful consideration of biomechanical principles, such as length of the external moment arm, gravity, and subject positioning. Understanding the anatomy and function of these muscles also is essential. Electromyography (EMG) provides a useful means to determine muscle activation levels during specific exercises. Descriptions of specific exercises, as they relate to the gluteal muscles, are described. The specific performance of these exercises, the reliability of such EMG measures, and descriptive figures are also detailed. Of utmost importance to practicing clinicians is the interpretation of such data and how it can be best used in exercise prescription when formulating a treatment plan.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Buttocks
  • Clinical Protocols*
  • Electromyography
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Posture
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Treatment Outcome