7 Intense Gluteus Minimus Exercises | How to Strengthen Your Hips!

By
Mike Kenler
November 23, 2020

What Is The Gluteus Minimus?

The gluteal muscles make up your buttocks. The glutes are comprised of three muscles: the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus.

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

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

Specifically training the gluteus minimus is valuable for the following reasons:

1. Improved Pelvic Alignment

When you walk, the gluteus minimus contracts to keep your pelvis aligned. 

If you have a weak left gluteus minimus, your right hip may dip downwards as you pick up your right foot to walk. 

This improper pelvic alignment can cause a variety of lower body issues over time such as chronic hip pain and incorrect knee tracking.

Developing stronger gluteus minimi can help prevent and improve your issues with pelvic alignment. 

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 Intense Gluteus Minimus Exercises

1. Lying Hip Abductions 

The lying hip abduction is a simple yet effective bodyweight gluteus minimus exercise.

Setup:

a) Lie on your side with your legs out straight and your upper body supported by your forearms.

Action:

a) Squeeze your gluteus minimus to raise your top leg as high as you can.

b) Pause at the top and slowly return to the starting position.

c) Repeat for your desired number of repetitions and switch legs!

2. Side Plank Pulses

While the side plank pulse is often considered an oblique exercise, your gluteus minimus also activates throughout the exercise motion.

Setup:

a) Place one foot on top of the other with your legs extended out and your body positioning on its side. Your forearm should be directly beneath your shoulder.

Action:

a) Contract your obliques to raise your hips up off the ground. 

b) Allow your hips to dip toward the floor, then squeeze your gluteus minimus and your obliques to raise your hips back up. 

c) Keep repeating this pulsing motion for your desired length of time or number of reps. 

3. Hip Abduction Machine

The hip abduction machine is one of the best gluteus minimus exercises. Thankfully, it is available in almost any gym!

Setup:

a) Set a relatively light weight and assume a seated position on the hip abduction machine.

b) Engage your core, straighten your back, and place your feet on the foot plates.

Action:

a) Contract your gluteus minimus to push your knees outwards.

b) Then, slowly return to the starting position.

c) Repeat for your desired number of reps.

4. Fire Hydrants

The fire hydrant is a simple bodyweight gluteus minimus exercise that also targets the gluteus medius.

Setup:

a) Assume a starting position on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders. Engage your core

Action:

a) Keeping your leg bent, lift one leg out to the side, stopping at hip-height.

b) Return to the starting position.

c) Repeat for your desired number of reps.

5. Curtsy Lunges

The curtsy lunge works the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus more than the average lunging motion.

Setup:

a) Start from a standing position with your chest held high and your back straight.

Action:

a) With your left foot straight in front of you, step with your right foot back and to the left. Both of your knees will bend and your legs will be “crossed.” Make sure your left knee is directly over your left ankle.

b) Next, drive upwards in a controlled fashion to the standing position.

c) Repeat this motion with your right foot out in front. You can switch legs after each repetition or after each set.


6. Leg Out Side Pulses

This gluteus minimus exercise will heavily engage your hip abductor muscles.

Setup:

a) Assume a starting position on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders.

b) Extend one leg straight out to the side with your toes facing forward.

Action:

a) Pulse your leg up and down for your desired number of reps.

b) Be sure to switch legs and repeat!

7. Side Lunges

The weighted side lunge can provide a challenge to stress your gluteus minimus on every rep.

Setup:

a) Assume a standing position with your toes slightly flared out and your feet wider than shoulder width apart. 

Action:

a) Keeping your left leg straight, bend your right knee and shift your weight to your right side.

b) Then, transition to the starting position and repeat on the left side.

c) Keep switching legs!

Looking for a Full Glute Workout?

Follow along to this intense 5 minute at home hip and glute workout!

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Mike Kenler
Director of Writing | Certified in Plant Based Nutrition at T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies

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