Research Review: Comparison of Electromyographic Activity of the Superior and Inferior Portions of the Gluteus Maximus Muscle During Common Therapeutic Exercises.

By Nicholas Rolnick SPT, MS, CSCS

Edited by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, COMT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

Original Citation: Selkowitz DM, Beneck GJ, Powers CM. (2016) Comparison of electromyographic activity of the superior and inferior portions of the gluteus maximus muscle during common therapeutic exercises. JOSPT. 46(9): 794-799.  - ARTICLE

Why is this relevant?: It has been hypothesized, that the gluteus maximus has two functionally distinct portions which may be selectively activated depending on the movement pattern. That is, the superior portion of gluteus maximus is more active in motions involving hip abduction, whereas the inferior portion is more active during hip extension. Knowledge of how the gluteus maximus is recruited may have an impact on exercise selection for performance and rehabilitation. The current study compared electromyographical (EMG) activation of the superior and inferior portions of the gluteus maximus muscle in 11 common therapeutic exercises using fine-wire electrodes.


Note the huge <a id=muscle mass that is gluteus maximus"> Note the huge muscle mass that is the gluteus maximus -


Study Summary

Study Design Controlled Laboratory Study - Repeated Measures Design
Level of Evidence IIA Evidence from at least one controlled study without randomization
Subject Demographics

  • Subject Demographics:

    • 20 total subjects (10 males, 10 females)
    • Age ± Standard Deviation (Range) - 27.9 ± 6.2 (18-50) years old
    • Height ± Standard Deviation (in cm) - 170.5 ± 11.1 cm
    • Weight ± Standard Deviation (in kg) - 67.7 ± 14.1