Hip Strength Exercises for Skaters: Gluteus Medius

by Mary on March 14, 2017

My physical therapist Valerie gave me some exercises for gluteus medius strength that she uses with her young competitive skaters. They’re hard! I went home and tried a set with a 3# ankle weight, put my hip out of action for days. Valerie informed me that for where I was at, that was way too much. Yeah, that light bulb had already flickered on.

I switched to doing one set with no weight on days where I did no other hip exercises. Over a month I gradually added a 1# and then a 2# weight. Last week I tried the 3# again, and like a fool, did 2 sets plus some other hip exercises. I was going out of town and wanted a good workout before I left.

Well I got one. Four days later, without any additional skating or working out (though lots of walking and standing) I’m still sore. While I’ve been so pleased at how fast my strength has come back, there are limits. I’m 54 and coming back from an injury and months of forced inactivity. I have to let go of my competitive streak and stick to a light workout.

Valerie has prescribed the following, for me to do from a side-lying position:

10 leg lifts

10 tiny circles with upraised leg, then 10 circles in other direction.

Hold foot up to count of 10.

1o “rainbows,” leg up and over, back and forth.

10 “running mans.”

See the video for details.

Meanwhile in my skating, I’ve dusted off my rose program to perform later this month. It’s an artistic program with very few jumps and Valerie thinks it would be a good first skating project for me.

There’s a small local competition on the 26th where I can skate exhibition for a modest fee. My rose program is for my dad. I think about him a lot at this time of year because his birthday was March 25th and he passed away on April 6th. So it’s a good moment for me to skate this program.

I’m only skating half an hour on most days, but since I’ve performed this program four times I think I can pull it off.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Jo March 15, 2017 at 12:05 am

I do the circles (without weights, though)–and yes, these are hard! So glad you are working on a program, Mary. That will be inspiring and fun. And what a great tribute to your dad, showing how much perseverance and gumption his daughter has!
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Mary March 18, 2017 at 12:29 am

Thanks, Jo, that’s nice of you to point out some positive qualities there. They may be the ones that show when I perform it, more than, say, “polish.” Just one more week before my performance and I was out of town for most of this week. I’m glad I brought my skates and skated a couple of times while I was gone!

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Eva at Eva Bakes March 15, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Those hip exercises look difficult, especially with weights! I’m excited to see your rose program back. I know how much that means to you, and you always perform it with passion.
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Mary March 18, 2017 at 12:30 am

Thanks, Eva, I’ve been glad to work on it, too. It’s nice to go back to something that I’ve performed enough that it’s pretty easy to remember. It’s been two years since I’ve done it, though, so there’s definitely some dusting off to do!

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Kimberly G March 17, 2017 at 11:06 pm

Wow the exercises are hard by themselves so I can only imagine how hard they are with weights!

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Mary March 18, 2017 at 12:30 am

Yeah I’ve realized that I can’t go too far with the weights at this point. Nothing wrong with doing them without!

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Janelle March 17, 2017 at 11:14 pm

Hip strength is definitely a weakness of mine! These are great exercises…I’d have to work my way up to using weights!
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Mary March 18, 2017 at 12:32 am

As it turns out, me too!

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Lisa March 17, 2017 at 11:48 pm

These exercises sound alot like one of my pilates videos. Those moves leaves my legs burning but they are so important!
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Mary March 18, 2017 at 12:33 am

Yes, they are very good for protecting both your back and your knees.

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Rachel March 18, 2017 at 12:20 am

I should try these exercises for my glutes, too! Thanks!
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Mary March 18, 2017 at 12:34 am

Anytime! I hope they help.

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Marcia March 18, 2017 at 12:44 am

This reminds me I need to get back to doing hip exercises. Like you I tend to overdo. I’m thrilled to hear you’re back on the ice and I’m sure your rose program will be just as lovely as it was before.
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Mary March 18, 2017 at 3:00 am

Thanks Marcia, I hope so! I feel pretty relaxed about it so far and just glad to be out there.

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Coco March 18, 2017 at 1:25 am

Sometimes those basic moves can be the hardest – especially those leg circles!
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Mary March 18, 2017 at 2:56 am

Yup!

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MCM Mama Runs March 18, 2017 at 1:36 am

I definitely need to do some work on my hips, so these look awesome. I need to bookmark this as I start heading into higher mileage soon.
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Mary March 22, 2017 at 4:46 am

I hope everything will go well for you with the higher mileage!

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Wendy March 18, 2017 at 2:00 am

My coach is big on glute work. She truly believes that glute work is the key to running success!
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Mary March 18, 2017 at 2:59 am

It’s very important for skaters, too, especially a strong gluteus medius to properly stabilize the knee.

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Deborah March 18, 2017 at 3:16 am

I used to do some of these a few years back when I was in PT. Have no idea why I stopped doing them.
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Mary March 18, 2017 at 1:40 pm

It’s hard to keep up those PT exercises for prevention long-term. More motivating to do them for healing when we’re hurt!

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Angela March 18, 2017 at 3:21 am

Perfect timing as I am working on my hip strength now! I will definitely be doing some of these exercises!!

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Mary March 22, 2017 at 5:02 am

I’m sure they will help your strength! Just don’t overdo like I did!

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Elaine March 18, 2017 at 5:44 am

I use a band to work on my glute medius with the leg lifts and clamshells. It’s good to hear you’re gaining back strength.
I’ve never ice-skated before – horrible balance and scared of falling. Goodluck at your competition. What a wonderful way to honor you dad.

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Mary March 22, 2017 at 5:21 am

Thanks Elaine! My program has been a helpful way for me to stay in touch with my feelings for my dad. I haven’t used a band with clamshells yet, though I hope I will eventually get to the point where I can add resistance. I’ve got quite the collection of PT bands around here, though, so I’m sure I could find one that would work!

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Kimberly Hatting March 19, 2017 at 1:47 am

I do a lot of these exercises myself….my hips and glutes are definitely my weak spots. Thanks for sharing!!
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Mary March 22, 2017 at 2:57 pm

They are the weak spots for a lot of people!

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Kathryn March 19, 2017 at 10:18 am

Adding weights always makes what seems like easy to perform exercises so difficult.
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Mary March 22, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Yup!

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Toni March 19, 2017 at 11:52 pm

Looks like an great addition to any workout program. Inline skating ha shown me muscles I have not used in forever!
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Mary March 22, 2017 at 4:48 am

Skating is quite unlike walking or running, uses some different muscles for sure!

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