After receiving help with this question I began working out my weak gluteus medius. Very rapidly I became able to do the exercises without pain or losing balance, and no longer feel pain while walking backwards or rotating my toe inwards. So... can I remove those exercises from my daily workout? Or is there a chance that my body will once again stop using the gluteus medius if I don't remind it how?

The same question goes for clam shells. I don't have as much proof that the exercise is working, but I gather that almost everyone gets results from clam shells as long as they actually do the exercise. So can I stop doing them and spend my limited workout time on other body parts instead?

2 Answers 2


When you train for high resistance, your body will gain a mind-muscle connection to the specific movement. If you don't train that particular movement for a long period of time, those motor neurons used to fire those muscles will not be as strong as they were before.

  • This is a short answer, but you were the first in two weeks to take a stab and googling "motor neurons" got me started on a search chain that led to posting my own answer. Thanks.
    – Noumenon
    Jul 30, 2014 at 18:54

You need to ask what caused this neurologically inhibited muscle and whether it still exists. Some say the cause is an antagonist that will not relax, which keeps the muscle from contracting completely.

the body “forgets” how to use the gluteal muscles because it’s more efficient in the short-term to divert the neural signal intended for them to a stronger muscle close by to do the job instead. [1]

In this case the tight antagonist and strong surrounding muscles still exist so your body may come to rely on them again. In the case of the gluteus medius you would need to stretch the hip adductors to prevent this.

Others say the cause is an overloaded muscle which becomes too fatigued to fully contract, but that this is a cause rather than an effect of tight supporting muscles.

as an inhibited muscle moves into its shortened position it becomes very inefficient and less able to contract. This results in instability at the associated joint, particularly when placed in an extreme range of motion. When the body recognizes this instability, the opposite muscles tighten up in order to protect the joint from being moved into the extreme range. [2]

In this case once the muscle is no longer inhibited the joint should become stable and not require further intervention. That's just my take from Google, I could be wrong.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.