Gluteus Minimus Exercises: Your Guide to a Stronger Lower Body

What Is The Gluteus Minimus?

The Gluteus Minimus Exercise is a small but important muscle in your buttocks, under the gluteus medius. It helps move and stabilize your hip. Even though it’s smaller than other glute muscles, it’s very important for keeping your hips stable and moving well.

Tap this post to learn all about the gluteus minimus, its function, benefits of strengthening, and exercises to target it. Get ready to improve your hip stability, reduce pain, and boost your athletic performance!

Where It Is and What It Looks Like The Gluteus Minimus Exercises is shaped like a triangle and is deep in your buttocks. It starts at the ilium, the top bone of your pelvis, and attaches to the greater trochanter, a bony part on the top of your thigh bone.

What It Does This muscle helps in:

  • Lifting your leg to the side.
  • Turning your foot inward.
  • Keeping your hip stable is important for balance and avoiding injuries.

Why It’s Good to Make It Stronger Making the gluteus minimus stronger can:

  • Keep your hips stable, preventing injuries.
  • Reduce the chance of lower back pain.
  • Improve your ability in sports like running and jumping.
  • Helps you stand and sit better.

Exercises for the Gluteus Minimus Here are some exercises to make it stronger:

  • Clamshells: Lie on your side, knees bent, and lift and lower your top knee.
  • Side-lying hip abduction: Lie on your side, legs straight, and lift and lower your top leg.
  • Single-leg bridge: Lie on your back, one leg up, and lift and lower your hips.
  • Lateral band walk: With a band around your ankles, step sideways, then switch sides.

The gluteus maximus provides most of the shape, power, and explosiveness of the glutes. 

For that reason, the comparatively smaller gluteus minimus is often overshadowed. 

This deep-seated muscle located on your outer hip works in conjunction with the gluteus medius to bring about the rotation and abduction of the thighs.

Benefits Of Gluteus Minimus Exercises

Gluteus Minimus muscle

If you haven’t considered the gluteus minimus in your glute training, now is the time to start! 

Specifically training the gluteus minimus can bring about the following benefits:

1. IMPROVED PELVIC ALIGNMENT

  1. Improves Hip Stability: Strong gluteus minimus muscles help stabilize your hips. This is especially important for activities like walking, running, or standing on one leg.
  2. Reduces Risk of Injuries: By stabilizing the hip joint, you lower the risk of injuries related to the hips, knees, and lower back.
  3. Enhances Athletic Performance: If you’re into sports, a strong gluteus minimus can improve your performance. It helps with movements like running, jumping, and changing directions quickly.
  4. Alleviates Lower Back Pain: A strong gluteus minimus supports your lower back. This can help prevent or reduce lower back pain.
  5. Improves Posture: It helps maintain proper hip alignment, which can lead to better overall posture.
  6. Balances Muscle Strength: Focusing on the gluteus minimus balances the strength among your glute muscles, preventing muscle imbalances that can lead to injuries.
  7. Enhances Daily Movements: Everyday activities like climbing stairs or squatting become easier with a stronger gluteus minimus.
  8. Prevents Hip Impingement: Strengthening this muscle can help avoid conditions like hip impingement, where movement becomes painful due to hip joint issues.

2. BETTER ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE 

Hip stability is essential for almost any athletic movement — running, jumping, and lunging all depend on sturdy gluteal muscles for explosiveness and agility.

If you neglect your hip strength, you are only limiting your athletic potential!

3. IMPROVED AESTHETICS 

It is impossible to completely isolate the gluteus minimus. When you work the gluteus minimus, you are also engaging the gluteus medius and other hip abductor muscles. In turn, this can help you develop more sculpted glutes. 

While reducing body fat largely depends on your dietary choices, you can also build muscle in your glutes to improve the appearance of your backside.

7 Gluteus Minimus Exercises

1. Lying Hip Abductions 

The Gluteus Minimus Exercise, specifically the Lying Hip Abductions, is a targeted exercise designed to strengthen the gluteus minimus muscle, located in the buttocks. Here’s how to perform it:

 Lying Hip Abductions 

Setup

  1. Find a Comfortable Surface: Use a yoga mat or a soft surface to lie down on your side. This helps in providing comfort and stability during the exercise.
  2. Position Your Body: Lie on your side with your legs extended straight. The body should be in a straight line from head to feet. Rest your head on your lower arm for support.
  3. Align Your Hips: Ensure your hips are stacked one on top of the other and not rolling forward or backward. This alignment is crucial for targeting the correct muscles.
  4. Engage Your Core: Activate your abdominal muscles to maintain a stable and aligned posture throughout the exercise.

Actions

  1. Lift Your Top Leg: Keeping your leg straight and toes pointing forward, lift your top leg upwards. The movement should be controlled and come from the hip, not the waist.
  2. Height of Lift: Raise your leg to a height where you feel your gluteus minimus engaging but avoid any discomfort. The height is typically a few inches off the other leg.
  3. Pause and Lower: Once at the peak of your lift, pause for a moment to intensify the muscle engagement. Then, slowly lower your leg back to the starting position.
  4. Repetitions: Perform a set number of repetitions, usually between 10 to 15 times, before switching to the other side.

Tips

  • Keep your movements slow and controlled. Avoid jerky or rapid motions.
  • Focus on keeping your hips steady. Avoid rocking them back and forth as you lift and lower your leg.
  • To increase intensity, you can add ankle weights or pause for longer at the top of the lift.
  • Ensure you breathe normally throughout the exercise. Do not hold your breath.

Variations

  • Bent Knee: For beginners or those with limited mobility, bending the knee of the lifting leg can reduce strain.
  • Pulses at the Top: Add small pulses at the top of the lift for additional muscle engagement.

2. Side Plank Pulses

The “Side Plank Pulses” exercise is an excellent way to target the Gluteus Minimus, as well as other core muscles. This exercise adds a dynamic component to the traditional side plank, enhancing its effectiveness. Here’s how to perform it:

Side Plank Pulses

Setup

  • Choose a Suitable Surface: Use a yoga mat or a soft surface to support your body during the exercise.
  • Start in Side Plank Position: Lie on your side and prop your body up on your forearm, ensuring that your elbow is directly under your shoulder for proper alignment. Extend your legs, stacking your feet on top of each other.
  • Engage Your Core: Activate your abdominal muscles to keep your body in a straight line from head to heels. This engagement is crucial for stability and effectiveness.

Actions

  1. Lift Your Hips: Lift your hips off the ground to enter the side plank position. Your body should form a straight line. Keep your supporting arm firm and avoid sagging in your hips.
  2. Pulse the Hips: Gently and controlledly lower your hips a few inches towards the ground and then lift them back up to the plank position. This is one pulse.
  3. Maintain Alignment: As you pulse, keep your body in a straight line. Avoid twisting your torso or bending at the waist.
  4. Repetitions: Do a set number of pulses, such as 10-15, before resting or switching sides.

Tips

  • Keep your movements controlled and focused. The movement should come from your hips and core, not momentum.
  • Breathe evenly throughout the exercise. Exhale as you lift your hips, inhale as you lower.
  • Keep your neck in a neutral position to avoid strain.
  • For beginners, this exercise can be modified by dropping the lower knee to the ground for additional support.

Variations

  • Arm Extension: For an added challenge, extend the top arm towards the sky or over your head in line with your body.
  • Leg Lift: To further engage the gluteus minimus, lift the top leg as you do your pulses.

3. Hip Abduction Machine


The Hip Abduction Machine is a popular gym equipment specifically designed to target the muscles in the outer thighs and hips, including the Gluteus Minimus. Here’s a guide to using the Hip Abduction Machine effectively:

Hip Abduction Machine

Setup

  1. Adjust the Machine: Before using the machine, adjust the seat and pads so they align with your body. The pads should comfortably fit on the outside of your knees or thighs.
  2. Select the Right Weight: Choose a weight that is challenging but allows you to perform the exercise in good form. Start lighter if you’re new to this exercise.
  3. Sit Properly: Sit in the machine with your back flat against the backrest. Your feet should be flat on the floor, and your legs should be against the pads.

Actions

  1. Position Your Legs: Start with your legs together, positioned against the pads.
  2. Engage Your Hips: Initiate the movement by engaging your hip muscles. Push against the pads to move your legs outward.
  3. Controlled Movement: Move your legs apart as far as comfortably possible, ensuring the movement is slow and controlled. Avoid jerky motions.
  4. Pause and Return: Once you’ve reached a comfortable stretch, pause briefly, then slowly bring your legs back together to the starting position.
  5. Repetitions: Perform a set number of repetitions, typically between 10 to 15, depending on your fitness level.

Tips

  • Keep your movements slow and controlled. Focus on using your hip muscles rather than momentum.
  • Avoid leaning forward or straining your back; maintain good posture throughout the exercise.
  • Breathe evenly – exhale as you push your legs outward, and inhale as you return to the starting position.
  • To prevent muscle imbalance, complement this exercise with hip adduction exercises.

Variations

  • Pulses at the End Range: Add small pulses at the end range of the movement for extra muscle engagement.
  • Single-Leg: Some machines allow you to work one leg at a time, which can help address imbalances.

The Hip Abduction Machine is an effective tool for strengthening and toning the Gluteus Minimus and other hip abductor muscles. Regular use can improve hip stability, balance, and overall lower body strength. Always ensure that you are using the machine correctly to prevent injury and maximize benefits. If you’re new to this exercise or have any pre-existing conditions, consider consulting a fitness professional for personalized advice.

4. Fire Hydrants

The “Fire Hydrant” is a simple yet effective bodyweight exercise that primarily targets the gluteus minimus, one of the smaller muscles in the buttocks, as well as other hip abductors. It’s popular for its ability to strengthen and tone the hips and buttocks without the need for any equipment. Here’s how to perform the Fire Hydrant exercise:

ire Hydrant” is a simple yet effective bodyweight exercise

Setup

  1. Start on All Fours: Begin by getting on your hands and knees on a comfortable surface, like a yoga mat. Your knees should be hip-width apart, and your hands should be directly under your shoulders.
  2. Engage Your Core: Activate your abdominal muscles to keep your spine neutral and provide stability during the exercise. Avoid arching your back.

Actions

  1. Lift One Leg: Keeping the knee bent at a 90-degree angle, lift one leg out to the side. The movement should resemble a dog lifting its leg at a fire hydrant, hence the name.
  2. Height of Lift: Raise your leg only as high as you can without shifting your hips or tilting your pelvis. The lift typically ranges from a few inches to about hip height.
  3. Pause and Lower: Once you’ve lifted your leg to a comfortable height, pause for a moment to maximize muscle engagement. Then, slowly lower your leg back to the starting position.
  4. Repetitions: Perform a set number of repetitions, usually between 10 to 15, before switching to the other leg.

Tips

  • Keep your movements controlled. Avoid jerky or rapid motions.
  • Focus on keeping your hips as stable as possible. Try not to lean to the opposite side as you lift your leg.
  • Maintain a neutral neck and spine alignment. Avoid looking up or down excessively.
  • Breathe consistently throughout the exercise, exhaling as you lift and inhaling as you lower.

Variations

  • Pulses: At the top of the lift, add small pulses to increase muscle engagement.
  • Extended Leg: For a more challenging variation, extend your lifted leg straight out to the side.
  • Resistance Bands: Place a resistance band around your thighs to increase the intensity.

5. Curtsy Lunges

The Curtsy Lunge is an effective lower-body exercise that primarily targets the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus muscles. This exercise is a variation of the traditional lunge, adding a cross-body movement that helps to engage and strengthen the muscles of the hips and buttocks more intensely. Here’s how to perform the Curtsy Lunge:

Curtsy Lunge gluteus medius

Setup

  1. Starting Position: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your arms at your sides or place your hands on your hips for balance.
  2. Posture: Maintain an upright posture with a straight back and engaged core throughout the exercise.

Actions

  1. Step Backward and Across: Move one leg backward and cross it behind the other, as if performing a curtsy. This is the ‘curtsy’ movement that distinguishes this exercise from a standard lunge.
  2. Lower Into Lunge: Bend both knees to lower your body towards the ground. The front knee should be aligned over your ankle, and the back knee should point towards the floor.
  3. Depth of Lunge: Go as low as comfortable while maintaining balance and without straining your joints. The goal is to create two 90-degree angles with your legs.
  4. Return to Start: Push through the front heel to return to the starting position.
  5. Repetitions: Perform the movement for a set number of repetitions before switching legs.

Tips

  • Keep the movement controlled and steady. Avoid any jerky or rapid motions.
  • As you lunge, keep your hips square and facing forward to maintain proper alignment.
  • Focus on keeping your balance. If needed, stand near a wall or chair for support.
  • Breathe consistently throughout the exercise; inhale as you lunge and exhale as you stand.

Variations

  • Weighted Curtsy Lunge: Hold dumbbells in your hands to increase resistance and intensity.
  • Pulse at the Bottom: Add small pulses at the lowest point of your lunge for extra muscle engagement.
  • Curtsy Lunge with Kick: After returning to the starting position, add a side kick with the moving leg for an additional challenge.

The Curtsy Lunge is not only effective for strengthening the gluteus medius and minimus, but it also helps improve balance and coordination. Its unique cross-body movement pattern provides a comprehensive workout for the lower body, making it a valuable addition to any fitness routine. Remember to listen to your body and modify the exercise as needed to suit your fitness level and comfort.

6. Leg Out Side Pulses

“Side Leg Pulses for Gluteus Minimus Strengthening” is a targeted exercise aimed at enhancing the strength and tone of the gluteus minimus muscle, located in the outer hip area. This exercise involves small, controlled pulsing movements that focus on isolating this specific muscle group. Here’s how to perform Side Leg Pulses:

Side Leg Pulses for Gluteus Minimus

Setup

  1. Choose a Comfortable Surface: Use a yoga mat or a soft surface if you’re doing this exercise lying down. For the standing version, ensure you have a stable surface to balance on.
  2. Position Your Body:
    • For Standing Version: Stand straight with feet hip-width apart. You may hold onto a chair or a wall for balance.
    • For Lying Version: Lie on your side on the mat, legs extended, and head rested on your lower arm or a cushion for support.

Actions

  1. Leg Movement:
    • In Standing Version: Gently lift one leg straight out to the side, keeping it at a manageable yet challenging height.
    • In Lying Version: Raise the top leg upwards, maintaining it straight.
  2. Performing Pulses: Once your leg is elevated, start doing small, controlled pulses up and down. The movement should be modest, only a few inches.
  3. Maintain Control: Focus on keeping the movement precise and driven by the hip and gluteus minimus muscle.
  4. Repetitions: Execute a series of pulses, generally around 10-20, then lower your leg and switch to the other side.

Tips

  • Aim for small, deliberate movements to ensure the gluteus minimus is being effectively targeted.
  • Keep your spine aligned and posture straight, particularly in the standing version, to engage the correct muscles.
  • Avoid using momentum; the strength of this exercise comes from controlled, steady motions.
  • Breathe consistently, inhaling and exhaling smoothly throughout the exercise.

Variations

  • Resistance Bands: For added intensity, use a resistance band around your thighs in the standing version.
  • Weighted Ankle Straps: In the lying version, ankle weights can increase resistance and benefit muscle strengthening.
  • Pulses at Different Heights: Alter the height of your pulses to engage different aspects of the muscle.

7. Side Lunges

Side Lunges” are a dynamic and effective exercise for strengthening the Gluteus Minimus, a key muscle in the hips. This exercise also targets other areas of the lower body, including the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Side Lunges are beneficial for improving overall lower body strength, stability, and flexibility. Here’s how to perform Side Lunges:

Side Lunges Gluteus Minimus Exercises

Setup

  1. Starting Position: Stand with your feet together and your hands on your hips or clasped in front of you for balance. Ensure you have enough space to step out to the side.
  2. Posture: Keep your back straight and your core engaged throughout the exercise.

Actions

  1. Step to the Side: Take a large step out to the side with one foot. Keep the other foot planted firmly on the ground.
  2. Lower into the Lunge: As you step out, bend your knee and lower your body down into a lunge. The knee of the lunging leg should be aligned over your foot, and your other leg should remain straight.
  3. Depth of the Lunge: Lower yourself until your thigh is parallel to the ground, or as low as comfortably possible. The deeper the lunge, the more intense the exercise.
  4. Push Back to Start: Push off with your lunging leg to return to the starting position.
  5. Alternate Sides: Repeat the movement on the other side, and continue alternating for a set number of repetitions.

Tips

  • Ensure that your lunging knee does not extend beyond your toes to avoid strain on the knee.
  • Keep your movements controlled and steady, focusing on maintaining good form.
  • Breathe out as you lunge and breathe in as you return to the starting position.
  • Keep your torso upright and avoid leaning forward or to the side excessively.

Variations

  • Weighted Side Lunges: Hold dumbbells in your hands to increase the exercise’s intensity.
  • Slider Side Lunges: Use a slider or a towel under the foot of your lunging leg for added challenge and to engage more stabilizer muscles.
  • Pulse at the Bottom: Add a small pulse at the bottom of the lunge to increase muscle engagement.