The gluteals are comprised of 3 muscles at the posterolateral aspect of the hip. These muscles include the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Due to their location and connection between the pelvis, sacrum, and femur, they function in hip extension, abduction, external rotation, and internal rotation. But, they are also important from a stabilization standpoint, as they prevent hip internal rotation and help to align the lower limb during single leg stance and running.
I bet, at one time or another, you have heard how important these muscles are for everyday movements, athletics, and running. But, have you ever performed any type of assessment to truly test their integrity? If not, I have a very simple self-assessment that you can complete in 60-seconds or less. It’s called the hip bridge with straight leg raise.
How to perform the hip bridge with straight leg raise…
- Lay on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor
- Lift up your hips to assume a hip bridge position
- Extend one leg at the knee joint so the thighs remain level but you are supporting from one side
- Hold this position for 20-30 seconds
- Assess if one of the following things happened:
- Inability to raise the hips up to the point where the knees, hips, and shoulders are in a straight line
- The pelvis rotated and the non-weight bearing side dropped closer to the ground
- The hamstring on the support side became very tight and/or cramped during the test
- You were unable to hold this position for a minimum of 20-seconds
- Now, complete the same assessment on the other side
- Record the results and compare left to right
Take a second to watch the following video on how to self-assess the gluteals…
Because the gluteals play a variety of roles around the hip, this self-assessment could have shown you poor stabilization, hamstring dominance, poor neuromuscular control, gluteal weakness, or all of the above. Once you have improved the weak link(s), the next step is to build overall strength, stability, and endurance with a structured and progressive lifting program. This area can never be too strong and resilient!
If you found any issues with the self-assessment outlined in today’s article, I highly recommend reaching out to a knowledgeable healthcare professional who can help you create an action plan to see reliable results. Please click here to contact me directly if you have questions or want to work more closely together to find a solution.
By: Garrett McLaughlin, MS, ATC, CSCS, ART