T Nation

Weak Hip Abductor


I do a lot of squats and always think I have decent lower body strength. Today I did some side leg raise and found my hip abductor (I believe it's gluteus medius) was firing and cramping. I can't even finish 20...

Is it a way to activate your hip medius in compound movements like squat?


Well, it's a squat, if you are focusing on your hip abductors firing during a squat, you're doing it wrong. But you're like me, my hip abductors are pathetic. Do a lot of side-leg raises like you did, and x-band walks. I throw in side-lying clams as well. My hips and lower back feel a lot healthier when doing these.


Put resistance bands around your knees while you are squatting and actively drive your knees out against them. You will wake up your glute meds like you've never felt before.


Really? In a PL style squat these come into play big time.


i managed to wake mine up with x band walks and microband side walks and microband squats.

also... step ups onto a fairly high step. and assisted pistols (would string a resistance band up in the squat rack).

unilateral stuff seems to be particularly great at getting those kinds of things going. i woke up a bunch of hip stabilizers that lie under the glute max, too. could hardly walk for days lolz.

P.S., i think a huge part of it is about activation. once you actually get them going their strength seems to develop fast. i do bodybalance class sometimes (blush) and the standing strength (lolz) leg tracks were kicking my ass. basically a bunch of standing leg raises. out front, then swing it around to the side, then swing it around to the back. upright torso on some, reaching arms out to stretch the body apart for others. my one legged balance sucks pretty bad, but what really upset me was the major cramping in my hips / quads i'd get from trying to hold the leg up. i'm a lot better at this now in virtue of the above exercises i mentioned. really worked for me :slightly_smiling:


Stretching your inner thighs out for a few seconds before doing side leg raises should stop the cramping.


Thank you guys, very informative. Tried resistance bands while squatting today, I can keep the form but feel kinda disturbing. I am going to do some isolation exercises on my off days.


obviously they do, that's why the spread the floor advice is used, to activate the hip abductors mainly. but you're right, the PL squat is different and people use certain cues throughout the lift to stay tight and do the right technique, whereas I was speaking from a Oly-type squat, where you just squat up, squat down, that's all the cue you need, lol.


X-crab walks are awesome for activating them before squatting.




yup... though i'm trying to learn to drive my hips forwards and up / knees out on the ascent on my olympic squats. to this end i've started low bar back squats with a slightly wider stance with a microband around my knees. the idea is to accentuate or caricature (maybe not quite the right word) the movement of hip drive / shove the knees out. really over-emphasize it so hopefully a subtle carryover to my oly front squat / clean recovery will be fairly automatic.

not saying this has worked for me yet... but i'm kinda optimistic...