Gluteus Medius Exercises

This blog post contains 15 different ways to perform Gluteus Medius exercises.

The Gluteus Medius is a muscle that is located on the side of the hip and has the important role of stabilizing the pelvis, hip and lower limb.

A weak Gluteus Medius may be involved with issues such as:

Exercises for Gluteus Medius

Points to consider:

  • Make sure that you can FEEL the contraction of the Gluteus Medius.
  • You do not need to do ALL of the Gluteus Medius exercises. Focus on the one where you can engage the Gluteus Medius the most.

1. Standing Hip Abduction

hip abduction glute medius exercise

Instructions:

  • Stand up right.
  • Hold onto a stationary object for balance. (If required)
  • Lift your leg towards the side as high as you can go.
  • Make sure that your spine and pelvis do NOT move as you lift the leg.
  • Aim to feel a muscular contraction on the side of your hip.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.

2. Standing Hip Abduction (with resistance)

glute medius strengthening with resistance band

Instructions:

  • Stand up right.
  • Hold onto a stationary object for balance. (If required)
  • Tie a resistance band between both of your feet. (see above)
  • Lift your leg towards the side.
  • Make sure that your spine and pelvis do NOT move as you lift the leg.
  • Aim to feel a muscular contraction on the side of your hip.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.

3. Sitting Hip Abduction

sitting gluteus medius exercise

Instructions:

  • Sit upright on a chair with your knees bent to 90 degrees.
  • Loop a resistance band around both of your knees. (see above)
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Push your knees outwards.
  • Aim to feel a muscular contraction on the side of your hip.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

4. Bridge (with resistance band)

bridge with resistance band for gluteus medius

Instructions:

  • Lie down on the floor with knees bent.
  • Tie a resistance band between your knees.
  • Keep your feet and knees shoulder-width apart.
  • Push your knees outwards. Maintain this position throughout the exercise.
  • Aim to feel a muscular contraction on the side of your hip.
  • Push your hips upwards.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.

5. Clam shells

clam shell gluteus medius

Instructions:

  • Lie on your side with your hips and knees slightly bent.
  • Whilst keeping your ankles together, lift your upper knee up as high as possible.
  • Make sure that you do not move your pelvis.
    • Block the hip with your hand if required.
    • Only the leg should be moving!
  • Aim to feel a muscular contraction on the side of your hip.
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds at end range.
  • Repeat 20 times.
  • Progression: Wrap a resistance band around the knees.

6. Side lie leg lift

side lie gluteus medius exercise

Instructions:

  • Lie on your side with your bottom leg bent.
  • Keep the upper leg straight.
  • Elongate your upper leg away from you.
  • Lift your upper leg as high as possible without moving your spine/pelvis.
  • Aim to feel a muscular contraction on the side of your hip.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.

7. Fire Hydrant

fire hydrant exercise

Instructions:

  • Assume the crawling position.
  • Lift your knee towards the side.
  • Do not allow the spine or pelvis to move.
  • Aim to feel a muscular contraction on the side of your hip.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.

8. Banded reverse lunge

lunge with resistance band

Instructions:

  • Tie a resistance band around your knee.
  • Make sure the band is pulling towards in the inside of the knee.
  • Assume the lunge position.
  • Perform reverse lunges without letting the knee collapse inwards.
  • Repeat 20 times.

8. Hip drop/lift

hip hitch

Instructions:

  • Stand sideways on a step.
  • Keep the leg on the step completely straight.
  • Slowly lower your hanging leg towards the floor without letting the stance leg bend.
  • Hitch the hip upwards.
  • Aim to feel a muscular contraction on the side of your hip of the leg on the step.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times.

9. Cross over lunge

cross over lunge for gluteus medius

Instructions:

  • Assume the standing position.
  • Bring your foot behind and as far to the side of the other foot. (See above)
  • Perform a slow lunge.
  • Aim to feel a muscular contraction on the side of the hip at the front.
  • Repeat 20 times.
  • Progression:
    • Do a deeper lunge
    • Reach your foot further to the side
    • Hold onto a weight

10. Crab walk

crab walk gluteus medius

Instructions:

  • Set up a resistance band as shown above.
  • Pull the band with both of your arms to increase tension.
  • Proceed to take small side steps with each leg over a 1 meter distance.
  • Keep your pelvis level through the exercise.
  • Aim to feel a muscular contraction on the side of both hips.
  • Continue for 1 minute.

11. wall push

gluteus medius exercises using wall

Instructions:

  • Lift your knee up to hip height and place the side of that leg against a wall. (see position above)
  • Bend your planted leg to ~10 degrees.
  • Push the lifted leg into the wall.
  • Aim to feel a muscular contraction on the side of both hips.
  • Hold this position for 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times.

12. Side plank

side plank for gluteus medius strengthening

Instructions:

  • Lie on your side with your knees bent.
  • Place your forearm onto the floor.
  • Keep your upper leg lifted off the lower leg.
  • Push your knee into the ground and lift your pelvis upwards.
  • Aim to feel a muscular contraction on the side of both hips.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times.

13. Single leg balance

single leg balance

Instructions:

  • Stand on one leg.
  • Make sure to keep your pelvis level throughout this exercise.
  • Make sure to keep your foot and knees facing forwards.
  • Keep your torso upright.
  • Maintain your balance!
  • Challenge your balance:
    • Alternate lifting your arms or,
    • Look behind your left and right shoulder.
  • Continue for 1 minute.

14. Single leg squat

Instructions:

  • Stand on one leg.
  • Place your hands on each side of your hips.
  • Maintain level pelvis throughout this exercise.
  • Perform a single leg squat.
  • Make sure to keep your foot and knees facing forwards.
  • Aim to feel a muscular contraction on the side of the hip of the stance leg.
  • Repeat 10 times.

15. Single leg Hinge

single hinge pelvis control

Instructions:

  • Stand on one leg.
  • Keep your pelvis leveled throughout this exercise.
  • Hinge forwards.
  • Make sure to keep your foot and knees facing forwards.
  • Aim to feel a muscular contraction on the side of the hip of the stance leg.
  • Repeat 10 times.

What to do next

1. Any questions?… (Leave me a comment down below.)

2. Come join me on the Facebook page. Let’s keep in touch!

3. Start doing the Gluteus Medius exercises!

18 thoughts on “Gluteus Medius Exercises”

  1. I want to make my left glute med stronger to even them because the left is much smaller and less mass and i have lateral pelvic tilt where the left hip is higher but i dont feel as much glute med, i strech the tfl to stop it from over working so the glute med can finally activate but im not sure that my glute med is getting stronger because i still have left higher hip and when i take pictures of me it always look like the left glute med is much smaller than the right. What should i do? Is there a specific one exercise that gave the most glute med than any other muscle? I also try massage ball for the tfl. Please help me! Im trying to fix this problem for a very long time. Btw i did a bone scan so it functional problem… I need your help with this problem. ):

    Reply
  2. Hi Mark,
    I have a leg discrepancy and I favor my right side. My muscles are larger as well. It hurts so bad when I walk, sometimes i her a sharp pain and my body starts to buckle. I need to balance out my muscles, my doctors don’t seem to care. They try to give me medication like flexerall. That’s not correcting the problem. It’s to the point that even sitting on the toilet is excruciating. Does this mean I strengthen my left glutes? My ROM in my right hip / pelvis hardly exists.
    •higher right hip
    •lordosis ( butt out one)

    I can’t even stretch without pain, or keep my body stay in alignment to do an exercise correctly. I’m so discouraged.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hi Christine!

      If you have symptoms that is directly linked to the high right hip, I would recommend having a read of this blog post: Lateral Pelvic Tilt (Uneven Hips).

      Asymetrical positioning of the pelvis can commonly lead to ONE sided issues.

      If you tend to favor the right side, it might mean your left leg is weak and will need to be strengthened with single leg biased exercises such as step ups, squats, single leg hinges etc.

      If your experience high levels of pain and buckling of the body, make sure to scan to lumbar spine for anything structural issues that might explain these presentations.

      Mark

      Reply
  3. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for taking out time to write this. I’ve done the exercises 5 times now and I felt every one of them.

    I just want to ask how many times a week I should do these? I’ve been doing them every 2 days. I’m so excited that I can feel my gluteus medius working for the first time ever that I’m getting too excited.

    I don’t want to do too much. Lol

    Reply
    • Hi Fab,

      Great to hear you can feel the Gluteus Medius firing off!

      I would go for 2-3/week. But it really depends on how much you push them. Make sure you are recovering before the next set of exercises.

      Mark

      Reply
  4. Hi Mark,

    If I have hip bursitis on my left size due to that glutes being bigger, do I need to work on both sides for the side leg exercises, or no that one side?

    I do strength training and I notice that my left side takes over when my squat weight gets heavier. My centre of gravity also shifts towards the right when my deadlift gets heavy as that is my weaker side.
    With hip thrusts, I mostly feel them in my left glutes as well, with minimal contraction on the right.

    Please help me figure out how to take care of this. It’s at a point that I only feel safe doing box squats. I’m also getting hip bursitis on my left hip every 3-4 weeks, which keeps me out of the gym for at least 5 days each time and makes me lose muscle mass because Im practically rendered immobile each time.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Chi,

      Bursitis on the left plus a bigger glute sounds like you tend to favor this left side.

      Generally speaking – you would want to balance out the hips so that equal amount of pressure is applied to both hips. (as opposed to more going to the left)

      Have you tried doing single leg exercises for the RIGHT side? (eg. step ups, lunges, single leg hinging etc) to teach the right side to accept load more readily?

      Also check out this post to see if it applies to you: Lateral Pelvic Tilt.

      Mark

      Reply
  5. Hello,
    I started doing these exercises to combat my pain in the glute area and back pain/numbness in my legs. When I do the Single Leg Balance exercise or raise one of my legs while sitting in a chair, I notice a very strong pulling sensation at the side of my glutes. I’m not sure what that muscle is but I think its the main cause of my pain. Do you know what that muscle might be?

    Reply
    • Hi Sen,

      Side glutes is usually the gluteus medius/minmimus muscle.

      However – If the pulling sensation is more side/front, it could also be the tensor fasciae latae. (If you would like some stretches: Tensor Fasciae Latae stretches)

      If you have both back pain and numbness in the legs, make sure that the pain is not referring from the lumbar spine it self.

      Mark

      Reply
  6. Hi Mark,

    I’ve started doing your knee exercises and they are very helpful, thank you! Will start on the ones above too. I’ve had long standing sciatica on my right side which is now resolved. However, when I walk uphill (on the flat is ok) my right knee (which is a bit knock kneed) wobbles around. Some stabilising muscle seems to have lost its strength. I was wondering if you could tell me if there are any of the exercises in your exercise lists which are especially good for this?

    Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth,

      First of all, if your knee tends to lose alignment going up hill, check to see if you have tight ankles. (See post: Ankle Dorsiflexion). This can cause the knee to collapse inwards.

      Since going up hill requires your hip to be in a bit more flexion as compared to flat ground walking, you would want to focus on 15. Single hinge. I would also encourage you to do Step ups with your torso leaning forwards.

      Mark

      Reply
  7. Hi Mark,
    One question, since my left side only quadratus lumborum muscle becomes tight sometimes so do I need to work only on left glute medius?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Sumer,

      Not necessarily. It really depends WHY the left QL is getting tight.

      It could be over used as it might be compensating for a weak glute medius on the other side.

      It could also be part of a lateral pelvic tilt.

      Perhaps even related to the positioning of your spine. (See post: Scoliosis)

      I would also check what kind of movements you are doing throughout the day that might predispose the left QL getting tight.

      Mark

      Reply

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