Why Runners Need to Strengthen the Gluteus Medius: The Neglected Middle Child of the Glute Family

I am the middle child in my family. You know what they say about middle children: Parents ignore the middle child, and shower attention and responsibility on the bigger brother; Meanwhile, the little sister gets away with everything!

We tend to take on personal responsibility to keep the family balanced and together, supporting our siblings. While our personalities are usually even and steady, when neglected for too long, we may lash out!

We’re just like the poor Gluteus Medius: The neglected middle child of the Glute muscles family. The big brother Gluteus Maximus gets all the fanfare with impressive exercises to shape and strengthen, while the Glute Med has the responsibility to keep the pelvis steady, it is often ignored and neglected.

If the Gluteus Medius is weak, it can wreak havoc on the hips, knees, and lower back. As runners, it’s especially important that we nurture this neglected middle child.

When we run, we move in one plane of motion (the sagittal plane, forward and backward). The Glute Med primarily operates in the frontal plane (side to side). This muscle doesn’t get strengthened while running, so if we don’t do exercises to build it, it becomes weak and can eventually break down our running form that can lead to injury.

When the Gluteus Medius is weak, hips shift while running causing knees to collapse which can lead to knee and IT band pain. A strong Glute Med will lead to better running mechanics and less chance of an injury.

This week for “Workout Wednesday” Let’s give the middle child the attention it deserves with exercises to strengthen the Gluteus Medius. Perform two to three sets of 8-12 reps of some of these exercises as part of your pre-run routine to activate and strengthen your Glute Med, to keep this middle child happy and healthy.

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These are the bands I use in the Shred Shed. Click on the image to purchase from Amazon or (use code ALEA15 to save 15% off from ProSourceFit)


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banded hip abduction


banded lateral squat start
banded lateral squat


Lying side abduction
glute medius exercises


side plank with hip abduction
banded side plank hip abduction


fire hydrant
fire hydrant hip exercise


kneeling abduction
kneeling abduction start


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Since I am a middle child too, I can sympathize with supporting the big brother (Glute Max) while holding the family (hips) stable. The middle child needs love too!

What birth order are you? Runners: Are you paying attention to the middle child of the Glute family?

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Why runners to strengthen the Glute Med: save to your favorite Pinterest board to share.

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