12 Exercises to Build Glute Medius Strength

By Kian
Last Update:

The glute medius, a critical yet often overlooked muscle, plays a vital role in maintaining comfort in our hips and lower back. Situated deep within the hip, it stabilises our pelvis, supports our posture, and helps us move efficiently. When this muscle is weak, it can lead to various issues, including poor balance, muscle imbalances, and even pain.

In this article, we’ll delve into the importance of the glute medius, how it impacts our daily lives, and why we should prioritize strengthening it. We’ll also share 12 targeted exercises designed to bolster the glute medius, ultimately improving your posture, mobility, and alleviating everyday aches and pains.

I. Understanding the Glute Medius

The gluteus medius muscle is located in the buttocks, underneath the larger gluteus maximus muscle. While the maximus is the largest and most visible muscle, the medius is situated deeper and closer to your hip. It originates from the outer surface of the hip bone, called the ilium, and inserts onto the greater trochanter of the femur, which is the bony protrusion on the side of the thigh bone [1].

It plays a crucial role in stabilizing your pelvis and controlling the movement of your hips. A strong glute medius helps maintain proper alignment of your hips, knees, and ankles, which is essential for good posture and balance.

It’s responsible for hip abduction (moving your leg away from the body) and internal and external rotation, all of which contribute to smooth and efficient movement during everyday activities like walking, climbing stairs, or getting up from a chair.

II. Why It’s Important to Strengthen the Glute Medius

Strengthening your glute medius can help prevent and alleviate several issues related to poor posture, balance, and body alignment. A weak glute medius can lead to an uneven distribution of weight and stress on your lower back, causing discomfort and strain in the lumbar region, which may result in persistent lower back pain.

It can also cause hip pain due to excessive stress on the hip joint and surrounding muscles. Furthermore, poor hip stability can affect the alignment of your knees, forcing them to compensate for the imbalance, potentially causing knee pain and increasing the risk of injury.

In short, keeping your glute medius strong and functional is essential for overall lower body health, pain relief, and improved daily movement.

III. Best Glute Medius Exercises

To effectively work out the glute medius muscles, you need to focus on exercises that require them to stabilize the pelvis, such as single-leg exercises. Common exercises like squats and deadlifts often overlook the glute medius, as they utilize both legs and keep the hips stable.

The following list includes effective exercises designed to target and strengthen your glute medius:

1. Side-lying leg lifts

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  • Lie on your side with your bottom leg bent and top leg straight.
  • Lift your top leg upward while keeping your foot parallel to the floor.
  • Slowly lower your leg back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, then switch sides.

2. Wall lean

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  1. Stand side-on to a wall and lift your leg closest to the wall and bend it to 90 degrees.
  2. Push your leg up against the wall.
  3. Keep your upper body upright without leaning towards the wall. Make sure your hips are level.
  4. Hold for a few seconds, then lower your leg.
  5. Repeat for several reps on one side, then switch to the other side.
  6. You can widen your stance a little to make the exercise more challenging.

3. Clamshells

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  • Lie on your side with your legs bent at 90 degrees and feet together.
  • Keeping your feet touching, lift your top knee as high as possible without moving your pelvis.
  • Slowly lower your knee back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, then switch sides.

4. Lateral band walks

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  • Place a resistance band around your ankles or above your knees.
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slightly bend your knees.
  • Step to the side with your right foot, followed by your left foot, maintaining tension on the band.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, then switch directions.

5. Fire hydrants

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  • Start on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  • Keeping your knee bent, lift your right leg out to the side as high as possible.
  • Lower your leg back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, then switch sides.

6. Single-leg squats

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  • Stand on one leg with the other leg extended in front of you.
  • Slowly lower yourself into a squat position while keeping your extended leg off the ground.
  • Push through your heel to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, then switch sides.

7. Single-leg glute bridge

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  • Lie on your back with one knee bent and the other leg extended straight.
  • Push through your heel and lift your hips off the ground, squeezing your glutes at the top.
  • Slowly lower your hips back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, then switch sides.

8. Reverse lunge

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  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Step back with your right foot and lower your body into a lunge position.
  • Push through your front heel to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, then switch sides.

9. Single-leg deadlift

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  • Stand on one leg with a slight bend in your knee and your other leg extended behind you.
  • Keeping your back straight, hinge at your hips and lower your upper body towards the ground.
  • Use your glutes to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, then switch sides.

10. Side plank with hip abduction

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  • Get into a side plank position with your elbow directly under your shoulder and your feet stacked.
  • Lift your top leg as high as you can while maintaining the side plank position.
  • Lower your leg back down and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  • Switch sides and perform the exercise with the other leg.

11. Plank with leg lift

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  • Start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body in a straight line from head to heels.
  • Engage your core and lift your right leg off the ground while keeping your leg straight and toes pointed.
  • Hold your leg in the lifted position for a few seconds, then lower it back down.
  • Repeat with the left leg, and continue alternating legs for the desired number of repetitions.

12. One-legged wall sit

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  • Stand with your back against a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart, about two feet away from the wall.
  • Press your lower back into the wall by engaging your core and glutes.
  • Slowly slide down the wall, stopping when your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Lift one foot off the ground and extend the leg straight in front of you.
  • Hold this position for the desired time, then lower your foot and switch to the other leg.

IV. Integrating Glute Medius Exercises into Your Routine

You don’t need to dedicate an entire workout session to your glute medius—these exercises can easily be integrated into your existing fitness routine. Here are a few ideas on how to incorporate glute medius training into your schedule:

  1. Combine with other lower body exercises: Add glute medius exercises to your leg day routine, ensuring that your entire lower body gets a well-rounded workout.
  2. Include in a full-body workout: If you prefer full-body workouts, incorporate one or two glute medius exercises into each session, targeting different muscle groups throughout the workout.
  3. Use as a warm-up or cool-down: Some of the lighter exercises, like clamshells or side-lying leg lifts, can be used as part of your warm-up or cool-down routine to activate and stretch the glute medius muscle.

Remember, the key to success is consistency and dedication. By incorporating these glute medius exercises into your regular fitness routine, you’ll be on your way to improved posture, mobility, and pain relief.

Final Words

Now that you have a comprehensive guide to exercises specifically targeting the glute medius, it’s time to put it into action. By consistently incorporating these exercises into your routine, you’ll notice improvements in your posture, mobility, and a decrease in everyday aches and pains.

Remember, it’s essential to warm up before exercising and maintain proper form to effectively target the glute medius and prevent injury. Be patient with your progress and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself by adding variety and increasing the difficulty of the exercises as you get stronger.

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