Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

David Relling


Background and Purpose: The purpose of the study was to record, compare, and analyze muscle recruitment patterns during different hip abduction exercises. This was done by examining the patterns for gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and tensor fascia latae when performing the following exercises: Standing hip abduction with a blue resistance band around bilateral ankles, sidelying hip abduction utilizing constant effort to move a small, medium, or large ball up and down the wall, and basic sidelying hip abduction with no ball. All exercises were done with participants' dominant lower extremity.

Case Description: Fifteen, healthy, University of North Dakota Physical Therapy students with mean age being 23, were recruited to perform the five different exercises. All participants met the inclusion criteria for healthy adults over the age of 18. The exclusion criteria for this study included hip or low back pain in the past three months or allergic reactions to adhesives. Each subject also completed a subject questionnaire and data collection.

Intervention: The sequence of exercises was randomly assigned for each participant. EMG equipment was used to measure muscle activity during all exercises. Five repetitions were completed to a 50 beat per minute metronome, and three sets of each exercise were fully completed by all participants.

Outcomes: Gluteus medius showed no significant difference between the ball sizes, but there was a significantly higher EMG response for standing and large ball conditions when compared to the no ball/sidelying condition. The gluteus maximus showed the lowest EMG activity with no ball and significantly higher EMG activity in each of the other experimental conditions. Interestingly, there was no statistical difference in EMG activity between the different balls and standing conditions. The tensor fascia latae EMG muscle activity was significantly higher in the standing abduction with the resistance band when compared to all other conditions.

Discussion: Our results yield trends that could be explained by the level of mental concentration needed to complete the activity, the position of the hip in each position, and biomechanics for each hip muscle. More extensive and specific research utilizing EMG activity of the hip muscles with a larger population is needed for a clearer understanding.