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If you’re looking for some exercises to target the gluteus minimus then you’ve come to the right place.
Popular exercises to target this underrated muscle include fire hydrants and the hip thrust which really fire up those gluteal muscles.
Located either side of the hip joint, the gluteus minimus is the smallest of the three glute muscles and plays an important role in hip stability and hip internal rotation.
Recommended Reading – Discover The 8 Best Gym Machines For Glutes
Before we suggest some of the best exercises that can form part of your gluteus minimus workout, let’s look in more detail at the glutes and what they do.
Different Parts of the Glutes
The glutes are made up of four different muscles and work together to help with several functions of the lower body including hip stabilization and overall balance. When the glutes are weak this can put stress on the hip muscles and surrounding joints.
This in turn can affect the way you walk, run and perform other day to day activities. Other muscles tend to overcompensate when there is a weakness to the glutes, and this can result in lower back pain and knee pain.
The glute max is the largest muscle of the three and, in fact, one of the largest muscles in the entire body. It makes up the overall shape of the glutes and aids with hip extension and rotates the leg.
Tensor Fasciae Latae
The tensor fasciae latae is located to the upper thigh and helps with hip flexion, abduction, and internal rotation. One of the smaller muscles that make up the glutes, it very often becomes tight, especially in people who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
This has the negative effect of reducing range of motion and can sometimes cause conditions such as IT band syndrome.
The glute medius is a fan shaped muscle which aids with hip abduction. In other words, to move the thigh away from the midline of the body when stepping sideways. It also helps to stabilize the pelvis when performing such actions as walking and running.
The gluteus minimus muscles work with the other muscles to abduct the hip joint and provide better stability. Aside from this, it also performs medial rotation of the hip. That is to inwardly rotate the hip.
Exercises for Gluteus Minimus
Below we recommend some of the most effective exercises for the gluteus minimus.
By strengthening the hip abductor muscles you can help to improve hip strength and pelvic alignment which will lead to be better hip mobility and less chance of developing knee and low back pain.
For some of these exercises you’ll need a closed loop resistance band, sometimes called a booty band.
Single Leg Squat
The single-leg squat, sometimes known as the pistol squat, is a great way of targeting the muscles of the lower body, including the glute muscles.
Even though it’s a bodyweight exercise, it’s definitely one of the more challenging movements to execute and requires very good balance, strength and coordination.
If you find it a little too difficult to perform, you could use something to support you such as a broom handle.
- Begin by standing with feet hip width apart.
- Raise your left foot straight out in front of you until it’s around 45 degrees.
- Keep a slight bend to both knees and hold your arms straight out to help with balance. This is your starting position.
- Push back your glutes and bend your right knee so that you squat down towards the ground.
- At the bottom of the movement your left leg should be straight out in front whilst you balance on your right foot.
- Pause for a second, before pushing through your foot back to the start.
Sometimes called the quadruped hip extension, fire hydrants are a great exercise to improve hip mobility and strength. You can progress the exercise by positioning a glute band just above your knees.
- Position yourself on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under the hips.
- Tighten your core muscles then lift your right leg away from your body by rotating your hip.
- Make sure your leg doesn’t go any higher than parallel to the ground as this could put stress on your hip joint.
- Pause briefly at the top before using control to lower the leg back down to the start.
Lateral Band Walk
The lateral lunge exercise, also known as the monster walk, is perfect for targeting the glutes and can help to promote good functional movement patterns.
As the exercise mimics real life movements such as getting in and out of your car, it can help to enhance your ability to undertake common daily activities.
You can progress this exercise by holding a weight in each hand to increase the resistance.
- Begin by placing a resistance band either just above your knees or around your ankles.
- Place your feet just beyond shoulder-width apart to create tension in the band and ensure that your toes are pointing forwards.
- Hinge forward at the hips slightly and maintain a slight bend to the knees.
- Don’t allow your knees to track past your toes as this could put unnecessary stress on your knee joints.
- With your head and chest up, take a wide sidestep.
- Keep stepping to side for around 5 to 6 steps and make sure tension stays on the band.
- Once you’ve completed your steps, repeat the process going back the other way.
The glute bridge is a powerful exercise for working the glutes, hamstrings and lower back helping to increase strength and muscle mass.
Start with just your bodyweight so you concentrate on proper form and progress by using a glute band or position a barbell across the top of your legs to increase the resistance.
- Start by lying on the ground with your knees bent and feet shoulder width apart.
- Rotate your hips back and press your lower back into the floor.
- Place your hands on your hips as this may help you to maintain correct form.
- Squeeze your glutes and push them up towards the ceiling.
- Pause once your body has formed a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
- Slowly return back to the start and repeat for repetitions.
Side-Lying Leg Lifts
As single-leg exercises go, the lying leg lift is great for working the glute minimus helping to improve hip and pelvic stability. Focus on maintaining proper form and don’t allow other muscles to overcompensate.
- Begin by lying on your side with one leg stacked on top of the other.
- Rest your head on your lower arm.
- Bend the knee of the underside leg by pushing the heel towards your glutes. This will give you stability.
- Squeeze the quad of the top leg so it straightens out.
- From here, squeeze your glutes and raise the top leg straight up towards the ceiling.
- Hold for 5 seconds before lowering back down to the start.
The single leg bridge exercise will help to strengthen your lower back, core and hips whilst activating that all important gluteus minimus muscle.
- Start by lying down and bring both knees up so that your feet are flat on the floor.
- Place your arms down by your sides with palms facing down.
- Raise one leg up and straighten it out.
- Keeping this leg outstretched, raise your hips up towards the ceiling.
- Squeeze your glutes and briefly pause at the top.
- With control, lower your glutes back to the floor.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps, before switching legs.
Standing Hip Abduction
The standing hip abduction exercise involves moving the hip joint through its entire range of motion. Performing this exercise often will help to improve hip mobility and alleviate stiffness to the joints.
If you want to increase the difficulty, position a resistance band around your ankles.
- Stand in front of a chair and take hold of it for support.
- Position your feet around hip-width apart.
- Slowly raise one leg out to the side until it’s around 45 degrees.
- Pause at the top and squeeze your glutes.
- Lower back down and repeat for repetitions.
Before You Go…
Now that you know some of the best exercises for activating your gluteus minimus, remember that your muscles work together so it’s important to target all of them for maximum benefits to your health and wellbeing.
You want to avoid muscle imbalances and overcompensating of stronger muscles.
Your glute minimus works alongside your glute medius for proper movement and alignment of your hips.
Even though some exercises activate multiple muscles at once, certain movements are better at isolating specific muscles helping you to build a well-balanced physique.
On that note, why not head on over to our article ‘7 Effective Gluteus Medius Exercises to Strengthen Glutes‘.