As we all know, the gluteus minimus is one of the three muscles that make up the glutes (the others being the gluteus maximus and medius). The minimus is responsible for hip abduction (moving your leg away from your body). While it’s not a particularly large muscle, it’s essential for keeping your hips healthy and strong. If you want to work this muscle, here are ten exercises sure to do the trick.
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What is The Gluteus Minimus Muscle?
The gluteus minimus muscle is a short and relatively thick muscle located deep in the buttock just below and medial to the larger gluteus medius. It plays an important role in hip abduction, internal rotation, and forward movement of the leg at the hip joint. The gluteus minimus also helps stabilize the pelvis during a single-leg stance, preventing excessive hip drop on that side.
This stabilizing role is important while walking or running, lifting heavy objects, or doing explosive exercises such as jumping. When performing daily activities or targeting these glutes during exercise, ensure you keep your legs in alignment with your torso for maximal activation of this crucial muscle.
10 Good Exercises for The Gluteus Minimus
Now that we know the importance of this muscle and its role in our daily activities, let’s look at ten great exercises that target it.
Curtsy lunges are an effective variation of the traditional lunge exercise, activating the gluteus minimus more than a regular lunge. To perform the exercise correctly, begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart and shifting most of your weight onto one foot while drawing the other foot backward and in line with that hip. The foot should be shifted far enough away so that it’s behind and slightly to the left of the other foot.
It’s essential to have your hips facing forward throughout. Avoid rotating them outward as you lunge down. Instead, lower your right knee close to the ground before returning to a standing position and repeating on either side until you have completed your desired number of repetitions. Performing curtsy lunges correctly will improve muscle tone and greater stability and agility in the lower body muscles.
Fire hydrants, commonly seen in pilates classes, are a simple yet challenging exercise that can be easily underestimated. To do the fire hydrant exercise, start by positioning your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips, with your spine perfectly horizontal to the floor. Then, exhale and lift your knee off the floor, using strength from your glute and hip muscles to generate the lifting motion.
Follow this movement with an inhale as you drop the knee back under the hip before repeating the same motion on the other side. Make sure you keep an uninterrupted horizontal position of your torso during the exercise for it to be truly effective.
Glute bridges are a great way to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles. To do the exercise correctly, begin by lying flat on your back with your feet hip-width apart and firmly planted on the floor. Next, engage your core muscles as you push through your heels and raise your hips into the air until they form a straight line with your shoulders and knees. Next, slowly lower your hips back to the floor, making sure not to let them drop too quickly. You can increase the challenge by adding weight to your hips as you bridge up and down.
Regular exercises will help build hip muscles’ stability, strength, and flexibility. With practice, you will notice improved agility and posture. Taking it slow and focusing on the form is key to reaping the full benefits of these exercises.
The clamshell exercise is an effective way of strengthening the glute muscles. To begin, lie on your right side with both legs outstretched. Then, bend your knees and make sure your feet align with your hips, so your lower body forms a 90-degree angle in the air.
Your entire upper body should stay straight and face forward during this movement. Lift one leg to a certain level higher than the ground and above your hip, keeping the toes together, then open from the hip joint by raising the knee of its counterpart. Squeezing the glutes on the extended leg is advised for maximum benefit. Complete ten reps for each side for best results.
Performing lateral walks with a loop or resistance band can be an excellent way to work your lower body, specifically targeting your glutes and outer thighs. To begin, secure the loop or resistance band around your shins and stand with feet hip-width apart in an athletic stance. If you do not feel resistance from the band, opt for one with more resistance or tighten the circumference of the circle you have tied.
With hands held in a prayer position, take a step to the right with the right foot, ensuring that it is wide enough so that feet end up shoulder-width apart before taking another step with your left foot. Continue this movement for ten steps before reversing direction utilizing the same technique. In doing so, you target key muscle groups within the lower body for better strength and stability.
Side-Lying Hip Abduction
When beginning side-lying hip abduction, you should start by laying the right side of your body down on a mat. Make sure to stack the limbs on top of one another so that your body forms a single line when fully extended on the mat; rest your head on your right arm, and lay your left arm atop the left side of your torso. Next, exhale and lift the top leg just a few inches off the bottom as you inhale to slowly return it to its starting position alongside the other leg.
You must maintain a continuous line throughout the exercise – avoiding any disruptions or sudden breaks in form – while only raising each leg minimally from the bottom one each time. Side-lying hip abduction is a small but effective movement that can strengthen one’s hip abductors.
Single-leg squats are an excellent way to work the glutes, quads, and core muscles. To begin this exercise, stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and extend one leg in front of you while keeping your torso upright. Next, lower your body into a squat position by bending at the knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Make sure to keep your balance and push through the heel of your standing leg as you rise back to the starting position, pushing off with the front foot when necessary. Complete 8-12 reps for each side for best results.
Side Plank Hip Dips
Begin by assuming a position on your mat, lying on the right side of your body. Next, create one long line from the crown of your head to your feet and place your right hand underneath your right shoulder and press up into a side plank position. Ensure that you have placed your left foot atop your right foot without touching the ground.
Engage your oblique muscles to ensure you are stable in this position before proceeding to exhale and dip your right hip toward the mat, avoiding remaining static at this point. With the engagement of these muscles, lift your left hip back into the air with the feeling that a string is present, lifting straight off the ground with ease.
Side plank hip dips are beneficial for both toning one’s hips as well as their oblique muscle.
Box Step-Ups With a Leg Lift
Step-ups are an ideal way to get your gluteus minimus going. Take it up a notch by incorporating leg lifts for an extra challenge. Find a box that is comfortably difficult for you to step onto, or settle with stepping on stairs if no box is available. Begin the exercise by placing your right foot onto the box and lifting your left leg, so the quad is parallel to ground level.
Keeping your left leg high at the apex, carefully lower it down and step off the box with your right foot. Then switch sides by stepping onto the box with your left foot and raising your right leg to a parallel position against the ground. Keep alternating between lifting each side until you feel worn out!
As you raise yourself onto the box, ensure that your hips remain facing forward. Achieve this by stepping straight on top of it – not around – and if you find it challenging to elevate while keeping lined up, your box may be too high.
But most importantly, during deadlifts, your gluteus minimus and the biggest muscles of your lower body, including the hamstrings and gluteus Maximus, are all activated. If you’re beginning to use this exercise or lifting a large amount of weight, ensure that you have an experienced trainer or spotter nearby.
Position your feet, so they are comfortably shoulder-width apart, and the barbell should be placed in front of you. Squat down to grab the bar just outside of your legs before standing up by extending both hips forward while keeping a firm grip on the weight with straight arms. Make sure to maintain an engaged core and neutral spine throughout this lift for optimal safety against back injuries! After achieving a straight upright position and contracting your glutes, gradually loosen that contraction and permit the bar to draw down your upper body.
The gluteus minimus muscle is a small but integral body part that can easily be targeted with specific exercises. Try these exercises for a more toned bottom line and a stronger lower body! As always, it’s essential to use proper form when working out to avoid any injuries. Consult a doctor or physician if you have any exercise-related concerns. With regular practice and dedication, you’ll see the benefits of these exercises in no time!