An Examination of the Gluteal Muscle Activity Associated With Dynamic Hip Abduction and Hip External Rotation Exercise: A Systematic Review

Authors:  Macadam P, Cronin J, Contreras B

A wide variety of hip abduction and hip external rotation exercises are used for training, both in athletic performance and in rehabilitation programming. Though several different exercises exist, a comprehensive understanding of which exercises best target the gluteus maximus (Gmax) and gluteus medius (Gmed) and the magnitude of muscular activation associated with each exercise is yet to be established.  Therefore the purpose of this systematic review to quantify the electromyographic (EMG) activity of exercises that utilize the Gmax and Gmed muscles during hip abduction and hip external rotation.  Twenty-three studies met the inclusion criteria and were retained for analysis. The highest Gmax activity was elicited during the lateral step up, cross over step up and rotational single leg squat (ranging from 79 to 113 % MVIC). Gmed activity was highest during the side bridge with hip abduction, standing hip abduction with elastic resistance at the ankle and side lying hip abduction (ranging from 81 to 103 % MVIC). The findings from this review provide data regarding the amount of muscle activity generated by basic strengthening and rehabilitation exercises, which may assist practitioners in making decisions for Gmax and Gmed strengthening and injury rehabilitation programs.

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