Glutes

7 Effective Exercises For Gluteus Minimus Workouts

exercises for gluteus minimus

Some of the best exercises for the gluteus minimus include fire hydrants and the hip thrust which really fire up this small muscle.  But why does it matter?

Located either side of the hip joint, the gluteus minimus is the smallest of the three glute muscles and plays a key role in hip stability and hip internal rotation.  

It’s a deep set muscle, so while it won’t contribute to the size and shape of your glutes, like the gluteus maximus would, it’s still important to keep it strong.

Strengthening this muscle by way of targeted glute minimus exercises is vital for providing adequate support to your hips and facilitating a full range of motion to the joints.


Recommended Reading – Discover The 8 Best Gym Machines For Glutes


We’ll be suggesting the best exercises for targeting the gluteus minimus, but before that let’s look a bit more at the anatomy of the glutes and what they do.

Anatomy Of The Glutes & What They Do

Your glutes are made up of four different muscles and they each work together to help with several functions of the lower body.

This includes supporting and keeping your hips stable which contributes to things like balance and posture.  When your glutes are weak this can put stress on the hip muscles and surrounding joints.  

This can affect the way you walk, run, and perform other daily activities such as climbing the stairs and lifting heavy objects.  To prevent other muscles from overcompensating, it’s a good idea to incorporate specific strengthening exercises to work all of the glute muscles, especially the gluteus minimus.

Let’s take a look at each of the glute muscles in turn

Gluteus Maximus

gluteus maxmius side and rear view

The gluteus maximus, often abbreviated to the glute max, is the largest of the glute muscles, and happens to be one of the biggest muscles in the entire body.  Not only is it large but it’s powerful and contributes most to the overall shape and size of the glutes.

The primary responsibility of the gluteus maximus is to extend and externally rotate the hip joint. This means it helps to straighten the hip joint and rotate the thigh outward.

gluteus medius side and rear view

The gluteus medius, sometimes referred to as the side glutes or upper glutes, is a fan shaped muscle located on the outside of the pelvis. It’s main responsibility is to support your pelvis but it also assists with hip abduction which is to move the thigh away from the midline of the body when stepping sideways.  

gluteus minimis rear and side view

The gluteus minimus muscles work with the other muscles to abduct the hip joint and provide better stability to your pelvis.  Aside from this, it also performs medial rotation of the hip.  That means to rotate your hip inwards which may do when crossing your legs or performing certain activities like yoga.  

Tensor Fasciae Latae

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.  

7 Best Exercises for Gluteus Minimus Strengthening

Now that we know more about the glute muscle group and how they all work, let’s get into our highly effective exercises for gluteus minimus training.

Each of these glute minimus workouts will help to strengthen your hip abductors and improve hip strength, stability, and pelvic alignment.  

By doing them regularly you can make improvements to your hip mobility making you less prone to developing things like knee problems and low back pain.  

You can perform all of these glute minimus exercises at home but for some you’ll need a closed loop resistance band, sometimes called a booty band.  So grab one and let’s dive in!

1. Single Leg Squat

The single-leg squat, sometimes known as the pistol squat, is going to recruit several muscles of the lower body, including the glute minimus muscles.  

Your gluteus minimus will act as a stabilizer muscle during the movement. While the glute max is mostly engaged to provide power as you ascend back up from the squat position, the gluteus minimus works to stabilize the hip joint throughout the entire range of motion.

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.  

single-leg-squat

How To:  

  1. Begin by standing with feet hip width apart.
  2. Raise your left foot straight out in front of you until it’s around 45 degrees.  
  3. Keep a slight bend to both knees and hold your arms straight out to help with balance.  This is your starting position. 
  4. Push back your glutes and bend your right knee so that you squat down towards the ground.  
  5. At the bottom of the movement your left leg should be straight out in front whilst you balance on your right foot.  
  6. Pause for a second, before pushing through your foot back to the start.  

2. Fire Hydrant

Sometimes called the quadruped hip extension, fire hydrants are a great exercise to improve hip mobility and strength as it specifically targets the glute minimus.

fire hydrant glute exercise

As you lift your leg out to the side, the gluteus minimus contracts to lift your thigh away from the midline of the body. This abduction movement activates and strengthens the gluteus minimus.

You can progress the exercise by positioning a glute band just above your knees.

How To:  

  1. Position yourself on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under the hips. 
  2. Tighten your core muscles then lift your right leg away from your body by rotating your hip. 
  3. Make sure your leg doesn’t go any higher than parallel to the ground as this could put stress on your hip joint. 
  4. Pause briefly at the top before using control to lower the leg back down to the start.  

3. Lateral Band Walk

The lateral band walk, sometimes called the monster walk, is perfect for working the glute minimus and, in time, can help to promote good functional movement patterns.

lateral-band-walk

It’s a great exercise for the gluteus minimus as it recruits the muscle to help stabilize the hip joint during the sidestepping movement.

As you step sideways and against the resistance provided by the band, the gluteus minimus is activated to abduct your hip to maintain proper alignment of your pelvis.

You can progress this exercise by holding a weight in each hand to increase the resistance.  

How To:

  1. Begin by placing a resistance band either just above your knees or around your ankles.  
  2. Place your feet just beyond shoulder-width apart to create tension in the band and ensure that your toes are pointing forwards. 
  3. Hinge forward at the hips slightly and maintain a slight bend to the knees.  
  4. Don’t allow your knees to track past your toes as this could put unnecessary stress on your knee joints. 
  5. With your head and chest up, take a wide sidestep.
  6. Keep stepping to side for around 5 to 6 steps and make sure tension stays on the band.  
  7. Once you’ve completed your steps, repeat the process going back the other way.  

4. Glute Bridge

The glute bridge is a powerful exercise for working the glutes (including the glute minimus), along with the hamstrings and lower back which helps to increase strength and muscle mass.

glute bridge using exercise mat

As you lift your hips off the ground, your gluteus minimus contracts to assist in hip abduction, which keeps your pelvis stable and properly aligned. Even though the gluteus maximus is the primary muscle responsible for hip extension in the glute bridge, the gluteus minimus supports this movement by providing stability to the hip joint.

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.  

How To:

  1. Start by lying on the ground with your knees bent and feet shoulder width apart. 
  2. Rotate your hips back and press your lower back into the floor.  
  3. Place your hands on your hips as this may help you to maintain correct form.  
  4. Squeeze your glutes and push them up towards the ceiling.  
  5. Pause once your body has formed a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. 
  6. Slowly return back to the start and repeat for repetitions.  

5. 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.

Side-Lying Leg Lifts

This exercise recruits your glute minimus as a stabilizer muscle. As you lift your top leg away from the bottom, it helps to keep your pelvis in place and prevent any excessive movement.

Focus on maintaining proper form and don’t allow other muscles to overcompensate.

How To:  

  1. Begin by lying on your side with one leg stacked on top of the other.  
  2. Rest your head on your lower arm (or on your elbow). 
  3. Bend the knee of the underside leg by pushing the heel towards your glutes.  This will give you stability and you with balance.  
  4. From here, squeeze your glutes and raise the top leg straight up towards the ceiling. 
  5. Hold for 5 seconds before lowering back down to the start.  

6. Single-Leg Bridge

The single leg bridge exercise will help to strengthen your lower back, core and hips whilst activating that all important gluteus minimus muscle.

Single-Leg Bridge

While your glute max is the main muscle being recruited, your glute minimus helps with balance so that you can perform the exercise with good form.

How To:  

  1. Start by lying down and bring both knees up so that your feet are flat on the floor.  
  2. Place your arms down by your sides with palms facing down. 
  3. Raise one leg up and straighten it out. 
  4. Keeping this leg outstretched, raise your hips up towards the ceiling.  
  5. Squeeze your glutes and briefly pause at the top. 
  6. With control, lower your glutes back to the floor.
  7. Repeat for the desired number of reps, before switching legs.  

7. Standing Hip Abduction

The standing hip abduction exercise involves moving the hip joint through its entire range of motion.

Standing Hip Abduction 

Performing this exercise often will help to improve hip mobility and alleviate stiffness to the joints by strengthening the gluteus minimus.  

If you want to increase the difficulty, position a resistance band around your ankles.  

How To:

  1. Stand in front of a chair and take hold of it for support. 
  2. Position your feet around hip-width apart. 
  3. Slowly raise one leg out to the side until it’s around 45 degrees. 
  4. Pause at the top and squeeze your glutes. 
  5. Lower back down and repeat for repetitions.  

Before You Go…

Now that you’re armed with some of the best workouts for gluteus minimus strengthening, remember that your glute muscles work together so it’s important to work each of them for the most benefit.  

On that note, why not head on over to our article ‘7 Effective Gluteus Medius Exercises to Strengthen Glutes‘.  

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