7 Reliable Exercises For Gluteus Minimus 

Welcome to this simple guide for strengthening the gluteus minimus! 

This overlooked muscle in the butt plays an important role in hip stability and lower body movement. 

As a certified personal trainer, I’ll lay out a variety of exercises for gluteus minimus meant to strengthen this often weak muscle. These step-by-step instructions and important tips will help you get the most out of your workout. 

Get ready to activate your gluteus minimus and level up your fitness. 
Here’s what’s coming up. 

Understanding the Gluteus Minimus 

There are three major muscles that make up your gluteal muscles, also known as your buttocks. 

The three muscles are the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. As you can probably tell from the anatomical names, the minimus is the smallest. 

The gluteus minimus is a deep muscle that is beneath the larder gluteus medius muscle. But don’t let its small size fool you. The gluteus minimus is a key player in hip function. 

It contributes to abducting and stabilizing your hip. That’s why exercises for gluteus minimus add to the overall functionality of your lower body. 

Dynamic Warm Up: Lateral Hip Swing

Before starting exercises for gluteus minimus, it’s important to dynamically warm up. A dynamic warm up imitates a movement that you will do during your training. 

Dynamic warm ups, or dynamic stretching, is just one of may types of stretching you can incorporate into your fitness routine.

In this case, the lateral hip swing will help to increase mobility and flexibility in the hip joint. To do the lateral hip swing: 

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your hands resting on your hips.
  • Engage your core and keep an upright posture throughout the stretch.
  • Shift your weight onto your right leg and slightly bend your right knee.
  • Lift your left foot off the ground and swing it across your body, aiming to bring it as far to the right as comfortable.
  • Immediately transition into swinging it out to the left side.
  • Continue swinging your leg back and forth in front of your body in a controlled, fluid motion.
  • Aim for a total of 10-12 swings on each leg or until you feel your glutes activated and warmed up.

Important tips for the lateral hip swing are to keep your upper body stable and avoid excessive leaning or twisting. You want to achieve full range of motion to loosen up the hips.

Maintain a controlled tempo and focus on smooth and fluid swings. If it helps, you can hold onto a chair or wall.

7 Exercises for Gluteus Minimus 

Without further ado, here are 7 exercises for gluteus minimus! 

Add 3 to 4 of these exercises in your leg routine for a complete lower body workout or jump to this back to basics glute workout.

You can adjust the number of sets, reps, and intensity of the exercises below based on your fitness level. 

Exercise 1: Clamshells

  • Lie on your side on a comfortable surface with your knees bent and legs stacked.
  • Make sure your hips and shoulders are aligned, so you maintain a neutral spine.
  • Keep your feet together throughout the entire exercise.
  • Engage your core. You can place one hand on your hip for stability. 
  • Slowly lift your top knee while keeping your feet together. 
  • Focus on engaging the gluteus minimus as you lift your knee.
  • Hold the lifted position for a second and then lower your knee back down.
  • Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions on each side.

Important Trainer Tips

  • Your legs will look like a clam opening and closing. 
  • Maintain a stable core and avoid twisting or rotating your hips.
  • Focus on mind-muscle connection and feel the gluteus minimus. 

Exercise 2:
Side-Lying Leg Lifts

  • Lie on your side on a comfortable surface with your legs straight and stacked.
  • Align your hips, shoulders, and head.
  • Rest your bottom arm in front of your body for more support.
  • Engage your core.
  • Slowly lift your top leg toward the ceiling, leading with your heel.
  • Lift your leg as high as you can comfortably. 
  • Hold the lifted position for a second, and focus on engaging the gluteus minimus.
  • Lower your leg back down.
  • Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions on each side.

Important Trainer Tips

  • Avoid excessive rocking or tilting.
  • Maintain proper alignment from head to toe. 
  • Perform the exercise with controlled movements. 

Exercise 3:
Single-Leg Glute Bridge

  • Lie on your back on a comfortable surface with knees bent and feet flat.
  • Extend one leg straight out in front of you, lifting it off the ground.
  • Place your arms by your sides, palms down, for support.
  • Engage your core and press through the heel of your grounded foot.
  • Lift your hips off the ground as high as you can. 
  • Think about forming a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
  • Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.
  • Slowly lower your hips back down to the starting position.
  • Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions on each side.

Important Trainer Tips

  • Engage your core and avoid overarching your lower back.
  • Focus on driving the movement through your glutes.
  • You can plant both feet and do a glute bridge to make it easier. 

Exercise 4:
Fire Hydrants

  • Start on all fours on a mat or a comfortable surface.
  • Keep hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
  • Engage your core and keep a neutral spine. 
  • Keep one knee bent at a 90-degree angle, and lift one leg out to the side.
  • Lift your leg as high as you can but remain in control. 
  • Hold the lifted position for a second, and focus on engaging the gluteus minimus.
  • Slowly lower your leg back down to the starting position.
  • Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions on each side.

Important Trainer Tips

  • Don’t overarch your lower back or let your hips sag.
  • Focus on engaging the gluteus minimus to lift your leg.
  • Hold the movement at the top for more of a burn. 

Exercise 5:
Lateral Band Walks

  • Place a resistance band around your legs, just above your knees.
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slightly bend your knees.
  • Take small steps to the side, while keeping tension in the resistance band.
  • Maintain a slight bend in your knees and keep your feet parallel. 
  • Perform several steps in one direction and then switch directions.
  • Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-12 steps in each direction.

Important Trainer Tips

  • Engage your core and maintain an upright posture throughout the exercise.
  • Keep your hips stable and avoid excessive leaning or tilting.
  • Maintain tension in the resistance band throughout the exercise.

Exercise 6:
Curtsy Lunge

  • Lie on your side on a comfortable surface with your knees bent Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips.
  • Step diagonally behind you with your right foot, crossing it behind your left leg.
  • Bend both knees and lower your body into a lunge position. 
  • Your front knee bends at a 90-degree angle. 
  • Your back knee should hover just above the ground.
  • Push through your front heel and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the movement, and switch sides each time. 
  • Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions on each leg.

Important Trainer Tips

  • Stay upright and avoid leaning too far forward.
  • Maintain control and stability. Balance is a factor in this movement. 
  • Focus on engaging all your gluteal muscles as you push through the front heel. 

Exercise 7: Plank Jack

  • Start in a high plank position with hands directly under your shoulders. 
  • Your body should be in a straight line from head to toe.
  • Engage your core and maintain a stable spine.
  • Jump both feet out to the sides, wider than hip-width apart. Just like a jumping jack.
  • Pause in the wide position to engage the gluteus minimus and stabilize your hips.
  • Jump your feet back together, returning to the starting plank position.
  • Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.

Important Trainer Tips

  • Avoid letting your hips sag and don’t lift your butt too high. 
  • Land softly on your feet to minimize impact. 
  • Focus on the gluteus minimus engagement during the wide position. 

Why Should I Train The Gluteus Minimus? 

You should train the gluteus minimus because weak gluteal muscles are all too common now.

Exercises for gluteus minimus have many benefits for everyday life. As mentioned above, you can maintain good pelvic alignment and prevent injuries. 

If you’re an athlete, you will improve performance because the gluteus muscles generate power for leg movements. Sprinting and jumping will become easier, and you might even consider doing cardio on rest days.

Train the gluteus minimus if you have a sedentary lifestyle.

Due to a technology driven world, sitting or a lack of physical activity is a major cause of weak gluteal muscles. 

  • Sitting for extended periods of time leads to gluteal muscles being inactive.
  • The saying goes, use it or lose it. All it takes is moving every 90 minutes to sit less. There are even everyday activities that burn calories. Find out more here.

The gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus are designed to work dynamically and move.

They can lose their strength and functionality when they are not regularly engaged. This can lead to a weakening of the surrounding area and potentially hip or back pain.

Exercises for gluteus minimus will help to address imbalanced training programs if you are active.

When doing leg training, some individuals may focus excessively on certain muscle groups and neglect the gluteal muscles. 

That’s why you should train the gluteus minimus to address muscular imbalances. Injury or muscular dysfunction in the lower body can lead to weak gluteal muscles. 

  • When areas like the hip or lower back are injured, the body compensates by altering regular movement patterns. 
  • This can result in the individual subconsciously limiting gluteal activation during movements, leading to weakness over time. 

Weak glutes can have a negative impact on your movement patterns and stability. Focusing on training the gluteal muscles will help to achieve a healthy, balanced physique. 

An Overview Of The Anatomy and Function 

exercises for gluteus minimus

The gluteus minimus originates from the uppermost part of the hip bone (called the ilium). It extends downwards and attaches to the outer side of the thigh bone (called the femur). 

  • This anatomical position allows the gluteus minimus to act on the hip joint. 
  • Its primary function is hip abduction. Abducting the hip means lifting the leg away from the midline of the body. 
  • The gluteus minimus works together with the gluteus medius to control the lateral movement of your legs. 

Exercises for gluteus minimus give you a well developed back side. This is essential for everyday activities like walking and side stepping. 

Besides abducting the hip, the gluteus minimus also contributes to stabilizing the hip. Hip stabilization is important for the daily actives of life, but especially more so for elderly.

As you age, the density of your bones decreases and muscles begin to lose their strength. That’s why balance exercises for seniors are important to maintain stability and improve quality of life.

Strengthening the gluteus minimus is a part of that. The gluteus minimus works as a team with other muscles in your legs to maintain control during weight-bearing activities. 

For example, if you’re bending to grab groceries out the trunk of your car, the gluteus minimus and medius are helping to prevent excessive tilting. It’s keeping your pelvis level and preventing hip misalignment. 

That’s why exercises for gluteus minimus optimize movement efficiency and reduce the risk of injuries. Your overall lower body function is when you train even the small muscles. 

Strong gluteus minimus muscles will help to generate power and provide stability for the everyday movements you do.

Bending and lifting, single leg movements, and changing directions require stability and control. 

Additionally, a gluteus minimus that functions well will help to alleviate additional stress on other body parts. For example, millions suffer with lower back pain. 

  • This study found that gluteus medius and hip abductor weakness was prevalent in people with lower back pain. 
  • By exercising the gluteus minimus, you can provide proper support and alignment to the pelvis and spine.
  • Over time you will promote optimal movement for your lower body, and reduce the strain on parts susceptible to pain, like the lower back.

Bottom Line 

Congratulations on completing this simple guide for strengthening the gluteus minimus! 

Incorporate exercises for gluteus minimus into your fitness routine to improve hip stability, mobility, and unlock the full potential of your lower body. 

Help contribute to better movement and functionality with daily exercise. So let’s keep those glutes activated and gain the benefits of a more stable body. 

AUTHOR

Shalom is a content creator, musician, and a teacher at heart. As a certified personal trainer, his goal is to encourage others to lead healthier lives and to get buff in the process!