This is an excerpt from Yoga for Runners-2nd Edition by Christine Felstead.
The gluteus medius plays a major role in pelvic stabilization. If underutilized it may not activate when needed, allowing other muscles to compensate. The exercise described below helps isolate and activate this elusive muscle to bring greater awareness to it.
This stabilization also helps your yoga practice, as you use the gluteus medius in many of the standing poses, lunges, and balancing poses. These muscles stabilize your yoga poses so that you can hold them for a period of time with greater ease. These benefits extend to giving you more strength in your running and more power in your stride.
Gluteus Medius Isolation
- From the knees, step the right foot forward so the leg is bent at 90 degrees, and the knee is over the ankle.
- Slide the thumb of the right hand in the hip crease with the palm resting flat at the outer hip joint. The gluteus medius is beneath your palm.
- Consciously contract beneath your palm. If you are able to do so, feel the outer hip become firmer and contract inward slightly. This is often described as a feeling of compactness at the hip joint.
- If you are able to feel the contraction, hold for several seconds, release, and repeat a few times. If you are unable to feel the contraction, keep doing so; with focused concentration and practice, eventually the muscle will respond.
- Repeat on the other side. It is not uncommon for one side to be different from the other.
The turbo standing challenge (TSC; page 108) is another great way to challenge the gluteus medius, but in a different way. Unlike the isolation exercise, the movement in TSC calls on the glutes to work reflexively, which more closely resembles real-life situations. It’s a random movement exercise that reflexively challenges both the glutes and the core to work simply to keep you balanced. From a functional perspective, this is an excellent way to train your body for those times when you slip and catch yourself before falling. Those are the times that you need the involuntary contraction of the body’s stabilizers, glutes and core among them.