Gluteus minimus: An intramuscular EMG investigation of anterior and posterior segments during gait Academic Article uri icon


  • Gluteus minimus is believed to consist of two structurally and functionally unique segments (anterior and posterior); however there is a lack of electromyography (EMG) research that attempts to verify current theoretical knowledge of this muscle. The purpose of this study was therefore to evaluate the function of gluteus minimus during gait, and to determine whether anterior and posterior segments are functionally independent. Bipolar fine wire intramuscular EMG electrodes were inserted into anterior and posterior gluteus minimus segments of fifteen healthy volunteers (9 males) according to previously verified guidelines. Participants completed a series of four walking trials, followed by maximum voluntary isometric contractions in five different positions. Temporal and amplitude variables for each segment were compared across the gait cycle with independent t-tests. The relative contribution of each segment to the maximum resisted trials was compared with Mann-Whitney U tests (α = 0.05). Anterior and posterior segments were contracting at different relative intensities for three of the five maximum resisted trials (effect size = 0.39 to 0.62, P < 0.037). The posterior segment was larger in EMG amplitude (peak and average) during the first 20% of the gait cycle (effect size = 0.96 to 1.03, P < 0.02), while the anterior segment peaked later in the stance phase (effect size = 0.83, P = 0.034). Gluteus minimus is therefore composed of functionally independent segments. These results build on contemporary theoretical knowledge and may signify hip stabilising roles for each segment across different phases of the gait cycle.

publication date

  • 2014