7 Effective Gluteus Medius Exercises To Strengthen Glutes

Gluteus Medius Exercises

The gluteal muscles play an important part in maintaining a healthy body and comprise of four distinct muscles. Together this muscle group is responsible for extension and abduction of the hip joint. They include the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and the tensor fasciae latae.

Aside from aiding with mobility of the hip joint, they also help with walking, running and even standing on one leg. Weak glutes can translate to a number of issues including low back pain, hip pain and instability of the hip joint. To address any weakness, it’s a good idea to focus on strengthening the different muscles of the glutes.

Recommended Reading – 8 Best Glute Exercises At Home With Resistance Bands

Whilst the gluteus maximus contributes more to the overall aesthetic due to it being the largest of the glute muscles, it’s important not to forget about the other smaller muscles. The glute medius in particular will aid with improved performance when working out and help to alleviate common ailments such as lower back pain.

In this article we’ll consider various gluteus medius exercises for specific activation of the muscle/

Anatomy of the Gluteus Medius

glute muscles

The glute medius is a fan shaped muscle and forms the middle layer of the gluteal musculature and sits between the glute max and the glute minimus. Its primary function is abduction (moving the leg out to the side and away from the midline of the body) and internal and external rotation of the thigh (turning the leg inwards or outwards).

It contracts helping to keep the pelvis level during activities such as walking and plays a role with side stepping movements, such as climbing out of a vehicle. A strong glute medius will provide hip stability and protects the hip joint.

It originates from the crest of the ilium and inserts into the greater trochanter of the femur.

Importance of Gluteus Medius

Below are some reasons you should take time to work on your gluteus medius.

Hip Abduction

Hip abduction happens when you move your leg away from the midline of your body. The movement allows you to walk, run, jump, and lift objects. The anterior and posterior sections of the gluteus medius help mediate this process.


The gluteus medius also helps in the extension of the hip’s posterior portion along with the flexion of the anterior portion. Hip flexion refers to the closing action of the hip joint, which is important for activities such as squatting, lunging, and running.


The gluteus medius plays a role in maintaining proper pelvic alignment, which helps keep your body upright and prevents lower back pain.

7 Gluteus Medius Exercises for Strengthening Your Glutes

Below we consider some of the best exercises to help you build a strong gluteus medius and improve hip strength.

Suggested Products

Glute Bands

Resistance bands are an exceptional tool for warm ups or isolation of muscle groups while training at home

Browse the range available today

Some of the links on this website are affiliate links. This means that if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you

Side Lying Hip Abduction

The side lying hip abduction is one of the most popular glute med exercises for helping to work the gluteus medius.

It’s usually performed with just body weight but can be made more challenging by incorporating a resistance band which would be located around the knees or wearing an ankle weight to the working leg.

gluteus maximus

How To Perform The Side Lying Hip Abduction:

  1. Start by lying down on your side and bend the bottom hip and knee to provide stability.
  2. Rest your head on the hand of your arm closest to the floor.
  3. Keep the ankle of your top leg in line with your shoulder, this will be your working leg.
  4. Slowly raise your top leg as high as comfortable.
  5. To place more emphasis on the glute med, internally rotate the hip during the movement.
  6. Repeat for 10 reps on each side.

If you find it difficult to maintain form, consider performing the exercise with your back positioned against a wall. Conversely, if you find it a little too difficult, then bend the knee of the top leg to a 90-degree angle.

Seated Side Foot Raise

The seated side foot raise is a very simple exercise to perform and a great way of isolating the glute medius muscle.

All you need are a set of loop style resistance bands. If you find that one foot can raise higher to the side than the other, this could be a sign of weakness. To address this, consider performing the movement one leg at a time.

How To Perform The Seated Side Foot Raise:

  1. Take a seat somewhere that keeps your feet off the ground.
  2. Place a resistance band around the top of the feet.
  3. Your hips and knees should be bent to around 90 degrees and keep your hands in your lap or across your chest.
  4. Keeping your knees together, slowly pull your feet apart.
  5. Hold briefly before returning to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for 10 repetitions.

Lateral Step-Up

The lateral step up will work several muscles aside from the glute med. These include the hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and hip flexors. If you’re new to the exercise start with a low-level platform.

Suggested Products

Step Up Box

A versatile low profile step up platform perfect for pike push ups, glute thrusts and a host of other home exercises.

Browse the range available today

Some of the links on this website are affiliate links. This means that if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you

How To Perform The Lateral Step Up:

  1. Start by standing side on to a step-up platform.
  2. Place the closest foot on the platform and keep your knee over your ankle.
  3. From here simply push through the foot on the platform to raise the other foot off of the ground.
  4. Perform 10 reps before repeating on the other leg.

If you’d like to progress the movement, change the height of the platform which will make it more difficult. To avoid knee pain, make sure you always keep your knee over the ankle.

Pelvic Drop

The pelvic drop is a low impact body weight exercise that is very simple to execute. If you want to progress the exercise then simply hold a free weight, such as a dumbbell, in the same hand as the working leg.

How To Perform The Pelvic Drop:

  1. Start by standing on a stepper with one foot. The other foot should be suspended over the side.
  2. Place your hands on your hips for stability.
  3. Slowly drop down your free leg towards the ground.
  4. The hip on the standing leg should fall into adduction without bending the knee.

Single Leg Deadlift

The single leg deadlift is a great lower body exercise helping to improve coordination, firing up the core and will activate muscles in the posterior chain including the hamstrings, calves, and glutes. The glute medius will work isometrically in the standing leg.

How To Perform The Single Leg Deadlift:

  1. Start by standing upright with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Keep a slight bend in the standing knee and place your hands on your hips. This is your starting position.
  3. Take the working leg behind you by hinging at the hips whilst keeping your back flat.
  4. Aim to get your upper body and the working leg parallel to the floor.
  5. Hold briefly at the top before slowly lowering to the start position.
  6. Repeat for 10 repetitions and then swap legs.

This can be a tricky exercise to master to begin with so be sure to perform the repetitions slowly and with control. If you want to make the exercise more difficult, then hold a free weight in the hand on the same side as the working leg or a barbell in both hands.

Another tip is to make sure you keep the toes of your working leg pointing to the floor throughout the exercise to minimize external hip rotation.

Single Leg Squat

The single leg squat is a great functional exercise for targeting all muscles of the lower legs and your stabiliser muscles. Whilst this exercise can be done without any equipment, by making use of a stepper you’ll be able to improve the range of motion.

How To Do A Single Leg Squat:

  1. Start by standing side on, on a stepper with one foot suspended over the side.
  2. Keep your arms straight out in front of you to improve stability.
  3. Push back your glutes and bend the knee of the fixed leg so your suspended leg drops down to the floor.
  4. Touch the floor with your heel and push back up to the top.

Once your body adapts to this movement and you’d like to progress, simply adjust the height of the stepper by making it taller increasing the range of motion even further.

Side Plank

Regularly performing the side plank, sometimes called the side bridge, will not only improve strength to the glute med, but it will also increase core strength helping with posture and lower back pain.

How To Do The Side Plank:

  1. Start by lying down on your side with one leg stacked on the other. The side closest to the floor will be the side worked.
  2. Support your body with your forearm and place your free hand on your hip.
  3. Raise your hips up off the ground so your body now forms a straight line.
  4. You should be balancing on your forearm and the edge of your bottom foot.
  5. Hold the position for as long as is comfortable before switching sides and repeating.

If you want to make this exercise more challenging, raise and lower the top leg for several reps whilst you’re maintaining the plank position. Throughout this exercise be sure to maintain a straight spine and avoid rotating your hips.


It’s common for most people to focus their training efforts on larger muscles to improve strength and increase muscle mass. But always remember to incorporate both compound and isolation movements into your exercise program with the aim of targeting the smaller muscles.

Recommended Reading – Discover The Best Gym Machines For Glutes

Weak gluteus medius muscles will prevent you from reaching your full potential with other workout goals and may put you at risk of injury. A sedentary lifestyle can cause such a weakness, but you can easily address them by adding in some or all of the movements suggested above.

Leave a Reply