4 Gluteus Medius Exercises For Stronger Hips In 2024

Everyone wants a lower body that is both powerful and visually appealing. However, having strong glute muscles is crucial for much more than just the looks. Strong glutes can lead to enhanced sports performance, injury avoidance, and general self-assurance.

Did you know that the gluteus medius plays a significant role in maintaining proper posture and preventing common lower-body injuries? Neglecting this muscle can lead to imbalances, reduced athletic performance, and even chronic pain.

This article will discuss the gluteus medius, effective exercises to train the gluteus muscles, and how they influence your physical performance. Get ready to discover what you need to know to give your lower body the size and shape you have always dreamed of.

Gluteus Medius Exercises For Stronger Hips

Gluteus Medius exercises are essential for building stronger hips and reaping numerous benefits. These exercises target the gluteus medius muscle, improving hip stability, balance, and posture. By incorporating them into your routine, you can prevent lower back and hip pain, enhance athletic performance, and reduce the risk of hip-related injuries while achieving a more functional and aesthetically pleasing lower body. Stronger hips contribute to better overall mobility and a stable foundation for various daily activities and sports.

Frog Bridges

This exercise specifically targets the gluteus medius, helping to strengthen and shape the hip abductors. By incorporating Frog Bridges, you can improve hip stability, reduce the risk of lower body injuries, enhance overall lower body strength, and achieve better balance and posture. Additionally, this exercise aids in sculpting and toning the gluteal muscles, contributing to a more aesthetically pleasing and functional lower body.

Frog Bridges
Frog Bridge Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Begin by lying on your back. 
  2. Bend your knees so your feet are close to your bottom and put your feet together.
  3. Slowly raise your hips while keeping your knees apart, squeezing your glutes during the lift. Be sure that your back and upper legs form a straight line.
  4. Lower back down and repeat for a desired number of repetitions.

Tips: 

  • Position your feet together with soles touching and knees bent outward. Keep your heels close to your glutes to engage the gluteus medius effectively.
  • As you lift your hips, focus on squeezing your glutes and maintaining a straight line from shoulders to knees. This ensures optimal engagement of the target muscles.
  • Lower your hips back down slowly and with control. Avoid allowing your hips to drop suddenly, as this can reduce the effectiveness of the exercise and increase the risk of injury.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 15-20 reps.

Single-Leg Squats

Single-leg squats,[1] commonly referred to as pistol squats, are a challenging yet effective exercise that specifically trains the gluteus muscles. This challenging exercise helps strengthen the gluteus medius, a muscle crucial for hip stability and overall lower body strength. By incorporating Single-Leg Squats, you can improve balance, prevent injuries, and enhance your athletic performance. Additionally, they promote balanced muscle development in the legs and contribute to a sculpted and well-defined lower body, making them an excellent choice for a comprehensive lower-body workout routine.

Single-Leg Squat
Single-Leg Squat Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Begin standing. Lift one leg and extend it forward.
  2. Bend the leg you are standing on, complete a squat, and lower your torso until it is parallel or close to parallel with the ground.
  3. Push through your heel to bring yourself back up to a standing position.
  4. Make sure to stay firm throughout the whole exercise to avoid falling.
  5. To work both sides of the body equally, do the appropriate number of repetitions on one leg before switching to the other.

Tips: 

  • Focus on balance and stability by keeping your core engaged and your body weight evenly distributed over the supporting leg. This enhances gluteus medius activation.
  • Lower yourself down in a slow and controlled manner, maintaining proper form. Avoid rapid movements or excessive momentum to prevent injury and maximize muscle engagement.
  • Ensure that your knee tracks over your toes and doesn’t cave inwards during the squat. This helps target the gluteus medius and prevents stress on the knee joint.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

Banded Glute Bridges 

Banded glute bridges[2] are an effective exercise that adds resistance to target and engage the gluteus medius maximus and hip abductor muscles. It helps improve hip stability, enhances overall lower body strength, and addresses muscle imbalances. Banded Glute Bridges can assist in sculpting and toning the buttocks while reducing the risk of lower back pain and improving athletic performance. Incorporating them into your routine can lead to better hip function, balance, and a more defined and well-rounded posterior.

Banded Glute Bridge
Banded Glute Bridge Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Start by lying down on your back on a flat surface, such as a mat or the floor. Place a resistance band just above your knees and make sure the band is secure and not slipping off.
  2. Begin by pushing your knees outward against the resistance band, this will activate your gluteus muscles. At the same time, press your feet into the ground and lift your hips off the floor. Aim to create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders, with your thighs parallel to each other.
  3. As you lower your hips back to the starting position, focus on keeping your glutes engaged to maintain tension. Control the movement by gradually lowering your hips to the floor. Keep your core engaged throughout the exercise to support your lower back and maintain stability.

Tips: 

  • Select a resistance band with appropriate tension. Too much resistance can make the exercise challenging, while too little may not provide enough intensity to work the gluteus medius effectively.
  • Keep your hips level throughout the movement. Focus on lifting your hips evenly, ensuring both sides of your gluteus medius are equally engaged.
  • At the peak of the movement, squeeze your glutes for a second or two to maximize muscle engagement and strengthen the gluteus medius effectively.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 15-20 reps.

Side Lunges

This exercise specifically targets the gluteus medius, helping to strengthen and sculpt the sides of the hips. They enhance hip stability, improve balance, and alleviate muscle imbalances, which can prevent injuries and support overall lower body strength and functionality. By incorporating Side Lunges into your routine, you can achieve better gluteus medius activation, which can lead to improved posture, reduced lower back pain, and enhanced athletic performance.

Side Lunges
Side Lunge Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Step out to the side. Bend your knee and hip into a squat-like position. Be sure to keep the moving foot facing forward.
  2. Then, step back to the initial position ensuring that both feet are firmly planted on the floor.
  3. Engage your core by controlling your breath through the movement. Complete the same number of reps on each side.

Tips: 

  • Step laterally to the side while keeping your chest up and core engaged. Ensure your knee aligns with your toes, and your back remains straight to target the gluteus medius effectively.
  • Lower your body with control and push off the bent leg to return to the starting position. Avoid letting your knee cave inward, as this can strain the knee joint.
  • Perform an equal number of repetitions on each leg to prevent muscle imbalances and promote symmetrical gluteus medius development.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

Best Gluteus Medius Workout Routine

ExerciseSets x Reps
Frog Bridges3 x 15-20
Single-Leg Squats3 x 10-12
Banded Glute Bridges 3 x 15-20
Side Lunges3 x 10-12

Why Should You Do Gluteus Medius Exercises?

Why Should You Do Gluteus Medius Exercises
Gluteus medius exercises help sculpt a well-rounded lower body. Photo: Freepik

Engaging in gluteus medius exercises is beneficial for several reasons. Consider the following benefits of using gluteus medius workouts in your routine:

Stability And Balance

The gluteus medius[3] is responsible for stabilizing the pelvis and maintaining balance during various movements, such as walking, running, and standing. A weak gluteus medius muscle may cause instability and mobility issues. Strengthening this muscle can improve balance and decrease your risk of falling.

Injury Prevention

Injury prevention, and lower body injuries, in particular, may be lessened by a well-developed gluteus medius. Knee valgus,[4] which is inward folding of the knees, iliotibial band syndrome, and lower back discomfort are all conditions that may be exacerbated by insufficient strength in the gluteus medius muscles. Performing strength exercises to target the gluteus medius may help with these issues and prevent injuries.

Improved Athletic Performance

The gluteus medius is a key muscle in sports[5] that requires quick and agile lateral movements. Developing this muscle’s strength may improve your coordination, speed, and power during high-intensity activities. 

Basketball, soccer, tennis, and even dance are just a few of the sports where a strong glute may be beneficial. 

Enhanced Hip Function

The gluteus medius is one of the primary muscles responsible for hip abduction,[6] which is the movement of your leg away from the midline of your body. Think of hip abduction as kicking your leg out to the side. By targeting this muscle, you can improve your hip stability, which can be beneficial for activities like walking, climbing stairs, and maintaining proper posture.

Appearance And Physical Makeup

Appearance And Physical Makeup
Strengthening your glute muscles can enhance your overall physique. Photo: master1305/Freepik

Training your glute muscles can help shape and tone your buttocks. Strengthening and developing this muscle can contribute to a more defined and lifted appearance of the glutes, enhancing your overall physique.

Other Glute Workout Benefits

Along with targeting the gluteus medius muscle, you may be wondering how to get rid of side fat or how to achieve a flat stomach quickly. These can be achieved by monitoring your caloric intake and your fitness.

The amount of calories you burn daily may vary based on factors like age, weight, and activity level. For a flat stomach, you should combine regular exercise and a healthy eating pattern. 
The timeframe for weight loss differs for each person, but be sure to emphasize the importance of sustainable approaches for the best results.

Other Tips For Doing Gluteus Medius Exercises

Here are more useful tips to consider when incorporating these exercises into your fitness regimen:

  • Rest if you are sore or experience any pain or discomfort.
  • Train regularly to build muscle and see progress.
  • Do not forget to stretch and cool down after your workouts to prevent muscle tightness or injury.

Conclusion

Incorporating gluteus medius exercises into your fitness routine offers numerous benefits for your lower body including strength, stability, and overall physical performance.  A strong gluteus medius contributes to improved hip stability, balance, less risk of injury, and greater power.

When working the gluteus medius, it is important to have good form. Work up to a challenging intensity level gradually, and do a variety of exercises. The efficacy and safety of these workouts may be maximized by consistency, appropriate technique, and listening to the body. 

By targeting the gluteus medius through exercises like frog bridges, single-leg squats, banded glute bridges, and side lunges, you can sculpt and develop this important muscle group.

Resources

  1. Khuu, A., Loverro, K.L. and Lewis, C.L. (2021). Muscle Activation During Single-Legged Squat Is Affected by Position of the Nonstance Limb. Journal of Athletic Training, [online] 57(2), pp.170–176. doi:https://doi.org/10.4085/1062-6050-0019.21.
  2. NA; (2017). BUILDING A BETTER GLUTEAL BRIDGE: ELECTROMYOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS OF HIP MUSCLE ACTIVITY DURING MODIFIED SINGLE-LEG BRIDGES. International journal of sports physical therapy, [online] 12(4). Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28900560/.
  3. Sadler, S., Cassidy, S., Peterson, B., Spink, M. and Chuter, V. (2019). Gluteus medius muscle function in people with and without low back pain: a systematic review. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, [online] 20(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-019-2833-4.
  4. Bartosz Wilczyński, Katarzyna Zorena and Ślęzak, D. (2020). Dynamic Knee Valgus in Single-Leg Movement Tasks. Potentially Modifiable Factors and Exercise Training Options. A Literature Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, [online] 17(21), pp.8208–8208. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218208.
  5. Semciw, A., Neate, R. and Pizzari, T. (2016). Running related gluteus medius function in health and injury: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, [online] 30, pp.98–110. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jelekin.2016.06.005.
  6. Whiler, L., Fong, M., Kim, S., Ly, A., Qin, Y., Yeung, E. and Mathur, S. (2017). Gluteus Medius and Minimus Muscle Structure, Strength, and Function in Healthy Adults: Brief Report. Physiotherapy Canada, [online] 69(3), pp.212–216. doi:https://doi.org/10.3138/ptc.2016-16.