Gluteus medius anatomy | Best gluteus medius exercises | Workout plan | Takeaway

Weak gluteus medius muscle is not only create several physical complications (i.e., lower back pain, leg to rotate inward, etc.) but also hamper the overall look of your glute.

In this article, I’m going to share with you the eleven best gluteus medius exercises, along with a workout plan that you can follow to strengthen and tone your booty.

Gluteus Medius Muscle Anatomy

Gluute muscle anatomy
Image: Mobilephysiotherapyclinic. in

The gluteus medius is one of three muscle groups in the glute and covers the lateral surface of the pelvis and hips.

The Gluteus medius is located under and in front of the gluteus maximus, on the lateral part of the upper buttock. It contributes to hip abduction and internal rotation of the thigh and helps stabilize the hip and pelvis. [1]

You may also like: 10 Best Dumbbell Glute Exercises

What are the Best Gluteus Medius Exercises?

11 Best Gluteus Medius Exercises - A man doing banded hip abduction at home

Here’re the 11 of the best gluteus medius exercises:

  • Side-lying Hip Abduction
  • Wall Isometric Hip Abduction
  • Clamshell
  • Lateral Band Walk
  • Single-Leg Squat
  • Weighted Deadlift
  • Resistance Band Monster Walk
  • Bodyweight Glute Bridge
  • Bodyweight Lateral Step-up
  • Banded Three Ways Toe Tap
  • Prone Straddle Hold

1. Side-lying Hip Abduction

How to:

  • To begin, lie at your side with one arm behind your head and the other arm on the ground or on your hip. Keep your legs straight, or you can slightly bend your lower leg.
  • Inheal, raise the upper leg about 8 inches, and hold there for 3 seconds.
  • Then lower the leg to the starting position. Repeat and switch sides.

Variation: You can wrap a resistance band around your knees to increase the tension.

Tip

Be sure to keep your upper leg straight, and don’t let your hip roll backward or forward during the exercise.

2. Isometric Hip Abduction Against a Wall

How to:

  • Stand up straight, with your closest knee bent, and up against the wall.
  • Push your knee into the wall so that your hip is not touching the wall. Make sure you’re not leaning toward the stance limb.
  • Feel the gluteus medius of your standing leg.
  • Stay in that position for 30 seconds and switch to the other side.

Variation: Place your standing leg wider to the wall to make it more challenging.

Tip

When doing this exercise, lean slightly toward the wall (but maintain a gap between the wall to your hip and shoulder) to get the glute med of standing leg fire.

3. Clamshell

How to:

  • To begin, lie on your side, keep your hip and shoulder stacked, one arm behind your head and the other on your hip.
  • Keep the spine neutral and the knees slightly bent.
  • Keeping the toes together, open your upper knee up and feel the tension on your glute.
  • Lower your knee down to the starting position. Repeat and switch to the other side.

Variation: Put a band around your knees to maximize glute activation.

Tip

When lifting your knee, ensure your hip doesn’t move back and keep the upper body still and relaxed throughout the movement.

4. Lateral Band Walk

How to:

  • To begin, warp a band around your knees and slightly bend your knees and hips back like a partial squat.
  • Keeping your arms in the front and chest up, start walking laterally by leading with your heel.
  • Take a few steps on the right side and then to the left. Repeat.

Variation: Use a harder band or two bands to fireup the glute.

Tip

Be sure to take a wider step and lead with your heal all the way together, and keep your feet parallel to each other.

5. Single-Leg Squat

How to:

  • Stand on one leg and lift your other leg out in front of you, so the toe is pointed towards the ceiling and the knee slightly bent.
  • Bend your leading knee, lower your hip to do a partial squat, and extend your arms in the front for balance simultaneously.
  • Pushing through your heel, stand up. Repeat and switch legs.
  • Try to go deeper as you gain strength.

Variation: Hold a weight with your hands to increase resistance.

Tip

Keep your knee in a straight line with your hip and ankle. As you squat down, you can reach your same side arm sideways to stop your knee from dropping inwards.

6. Weighted Deadlift

How to:

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, and hold a barbell/dumbbell with an overhand grip (palm facing toward you) shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your toes pointing slightly outward, chest up, and back flat.
  • Bend your hip and lower the barbell comes down to the shinbone. Keep your knees tucked in line with your toes and eyes fixed on the floor in front.
  • Drive through your hips, stand up and squeeze your glutes.

Variation: Do the single-leg deadlift to increase your muscle-mind connection and greater stretch on your glutes.

Tip

Make sure to keep your back flat. Don’t allow the bar to go away from the body, drag the bar up and down.

7. Resistance Band Monster Walk

How to:

  • Wrap two resistance bands, one above your knees and the other one around your shinbone.
  • Then make your feet slightly wider and knees pointing outward.
  • Bend your knees and squat down slightly.
  • Keeping your legs and knees wider, start walking in the front and side to side while keeping the constant tension on your glutes. Repeat as desired reps.

Variation: If you double band harder, start with one band to build the foundational strength and then add another as you gain strength.

Tip

Keep your knees out, and your hip squeezed throughout the movement.

8. Bodyweight Glute Bridge

How to:

  • Lie on your back on the ground and spread your arms at your sides.
  • Keep your legs bent and feet flat on the ground.
  • Keeping your core tight, lift your hip off the ground and squeeze your glute at the top for 3 seconds.
  • Slowly lower your hip and repeat.

Variation: You can hold a weight plate or dumbbell on your hip to increase resistance.

Tip

You should use your glute and hamstring to lift the hip, not your lower back. Get a solid tension on your glute on every repetition.

9. Bodyweight Lateral Step-up

How to:

  • Stand upright at the side of a bench or knee-height platform.
  •  Keeping your core tight, lift the closer leg of the bench, place it on the bench, and lift yourself up on it. You can use your arm for momentum.
  • Be sure to keep the knee of the leading in line with your ankle and hip.
  • Then lower the opposite leg off the bench to the starting position. Repeat and switch sides.

Variation: Hold a dumbbell or weight plate as you gain strength.

Tip

Make sure to put the maximum weight on your leading leg when lifting yourself on the bench.

10. Banded Three Ways Toe Tap

How to:

  • Attach a resistance band above your knees, and bend your knees slightly with your feet closer together.
  • Keeping your core tight, move your right leg forward, tap, and return to the starting position.
  • Then move the same leg sideways, touching the ground lightly, and come back to the starting position. Then, you’ll move the same leg backward, tap, and return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
  • Perform your desired reps (about 10-15), then switch to the left leg for three sets.

Variation: Instead of returning the leg to the starting position every time before you move to the other sides, you can move your leg forward and tap your toe in the front, to the side, and then to the back. Repeat and switch legs.

Tip

When doing this exercise, make sure to keep your body upright and your knee stable.

11. Prone Straddle Hold

How to:

  • Lie in a face-down position, and spread your legs and arms out.
  • From there, lift your arms and legs toward the ceiling so that only your mid-section will be on the ground.
  • All the tension should be on your glute, and hold that position for 30 seconds.

Variation: You can do this straddle hold on the bench (i.e., prone half straddle hold), where your upper body will be on the bench and the lower body hold in the air.

Tip

Be sure to feel intense tension on your glute throughout the exercise.

Building a Gluteus Medius Workout Plan

Here’s a sample workout plan to build the gluteus medius muscle.

Workout A

  • Side-lying Hip Abduction: 3 x 10-15
  •  Lateral Band Walk: 3 x 10-15
  •  Weighted Deadlift: 3 x 8-12
  •  Isometric Wall Hip Abduction: 2 x 30-45 seconds

Workout B

  • Clamshell: 3 x 10-15
  •  Glute Bridge: 3 x 10-15
  •  Lateral Step-up: 3x 10-15
  •  Prone Straddle Hold: 2 x 30-45 seconds

Do the workout “A” and “B” on separate days of the week. Try to hit the gluteus medius muscle at least twice a week or increase training volume to maximize muscle growth. [2]

Tip

Make sure to warm up your body (especially your hip) before doing the main exercises and finish with a cool-down routine (i.e., stretching). Keeping your spine neutral and core engaged during the exercise help isolate the glute med for greater results.

The Takeaway

Whether you’re at home or in the gym, the gluteus medius is one of the easiest muscles to train with little to no equipment. There’s no excuse to skip glute med, as you can train it even when you’re watching TV.

Although the glute muscle is activated during leg workouts, training the glute med on separate days will give you an edge to progress faster.

You should also be flexible to take an additional rest day if needed. And remember to prioritize your nutrition and sleep.

So… There we have it: The best gluteus medius exercises.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below. I’d love to help you.

Read Next: Best Gluteus Minimus Exercises to Increase Size


References

1. Sean Sadler, Samuel Cassidy, Benjamin Peterson, Martin Spink, and Vivienne Chuter (2019). Gluteus medius muscle function in people with and without low back pain: a systematic review. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 20(1), 463. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31638962/

2. Brad J Schoenfeld, Dan Ogborn, and James W Krieger (2016). Effects of Resistance Training Frequency on Measures of Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 46(11), 1689-1697. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27102172/