Impact-Site-Verification: 1728352514
Free UK delivery on orders over £50 & Free Worldwide shipping on orders over £75


How to Grow the Side Glutes

May 23, 2024

Growing side glutes by Robor Fitness

When on the quest to building the booty, many people focus on building the glutes in the middle of the butt and sometimes neglect the smaller muscles on the side.

The middle glutes (the glute maximas) are the largest muscle in the glute region, so spending most of our glute-building efforts here makes sense. But if we forget about the side glutes then we’re never going to be able to build the well-rounded, fuller look many people strive for.

Not only do well-trained side glutes improve the appearance of the derrière, but they also play an important role for us functionally and can help us stay injury-free and improve athletic performance.

Stick with us to see why you shouldn’t forget about the side glutes, their anatomy and role, and the best exercises to help them grow.


Side Glute Anatomy & Role

The glutes consist of 3 muscles, the maximas, medius and minimus. As you can see from the diagram below, the side glutes consist of the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus – so these muscles are going to be the topic of conversation for today's article.

side glute anatomy


The medius and minimus work together to perform a variety of functions:


Hip Abduction

The primary role of both the medius and minimus is to perform hip abduction. Put simply, this means to move the leg away out to the side away from the midline of the body (See image below).

Hip abduction example


Any exercise that involves hip abduction will call upon the medius and minimus to perform the movement.


External and Internal Rotation

Both muscles are also involved with hip External and Internal rotation. As the name suggests, internal rotation is rotating the thigh inwards towards the midline of the body and external rotation is the opposite.


With Flexed Knee

If your knee is flexed and you internally rotate at the hip joint, your thigh would go inwards resulting in your foot going outwards (confusing I know!).

Another way to think of it is, that if you were to sit on the floor cross-legged, the hip would be externally rotated (because the foot is now coming inwards).

Internal and external hip rotation with bent knee



With Extended Knee

Alternatively, if your leg was straight, external and internal rotation would look like this.

Internal and external hip rotation with straight leg

We’re not trying to confuse you, it’s just handy to understand this concept when choosing our favourite exercises to grow the side glutes.


Pelvis Stabilisation

The medius and minimus go hand in hand when it comes to pelvis stabilisation. These are the primary muscles that stabilise and balance the pelvis when we’re walking, running, or doing any type of one-legged movement. Basically, they’re always on standby to support the hip joint and maintain proper alignment of the pelvis.


Best Side Glute Exercises

Now we’ve covered the roles of the side glutes, let’s dive into the best exercises to target the side glutes.


Seated Abduction

Seated abduction exercise


Kicking off with a key exercise that heavily targets the side glutes by focusing on the primary movement the muscles are responsible for – hip abduction. The high level of stability that the seated abduction machine provides means we can focus our attention on the side glutes which will allow us to improve the mind-muscle connection as we’re not worrying about what other muscles are doing.

As a result, this exercise produces high amounts of glute activation and is a great exercise to strengthen and grow the side glutes.  


Medius Kickbacks

You’ve probably seen people in the gym perform glute kickbacks as part of their program, and rightly so, they’re a great exercise to activate the glutes.

Add a bit of spice and you’ve got the medius kickback, a great adaptation to the exercise that further targets the side glutes. Including cable exercises in your glute training is a great approach due to cable machines being able to constant tension on the muscle throughout the range of motion. Muscle tension is one of the main drivers of muscle growth, so loading the muscle throughout the entire range of motion can help bring positive muscle-building benefits.  


Banded Hip Thrust

The queen of glute building exercises, the hip thrust – but with an added layer of difficulty. The hip thrust is a quality exercise to target the glute max, and introducing a band allows you to target the glute medius and minimus too. As you push out against the band, you will call upon the side glutes to contract to externally rotate the hips. This pushing against the band throughout the range of motion will get the side glutes on fire, helping to promote side glute development.


Cable Side Lunge

The cable side lunge is a stellar exercise for the side glutes. Not only will the medius and minimus be responsible for abducting the leg outwards to initiate the movement, but they will also be called upon during the lunge for hip stabilisation and balance. As we mentioned earlier, doing such movement under cable resistance is great for glute activation and is highly effective for muscle building.


Lateral Step-Up

Another key exercise to level up your glute game. If you’ve been sleeping on the step-up, it’s time to wake up and add them to your glute workout. A study from 2020 found that the step-up had the highest gluteus maximas muscle activation amongst some of the best glute-building exercises.

Yes, yes, we know today's article is about the glute med and min, rather than the glute max – but we always like to reference this study as it can open people's eyes to how effective the exercise is.

A more relevant study would be this one by Moore et al. which found that the lateral step-up has high levels of glute medius activation. It also shows that the lateral variation activated the medius to a higher degree than the forward variation – hence why we’ve included this one in our favourites list.


Banded Side Walks

A simple yet effective exercise that will have the side glutes on fire. The banded side walks involves hip abduction as you take lateral steps against the bands resistance. A unique feature of this exercise is that it gets harder as you move through the range of motion. As you initiate the movement there is no resistance as the band is slack; But the further you step out to the side, the more resistance you encounter as the band gets stretched – if you want to make the exercise harder, simply take a bigger step!

Another great benefit of this is that you can build the glutes from the comfort of your own home. You don’t need any fancy equipment, all you need is a resistance band and some space and you’re off!

If you haven’t  already got some resistance bands, we can recommend the following ones:

Resistance bands recommendation
Check price on amazon


Banded Clamshells

The banded clamshell is another awesome banded exercise to target the side glutes. Likewise, with the banded walks, all you need for this exercise is a resistance band.

The banded clamshell is one of the few exercises you can do that only performs hip external rotation – making it a unique exercise to isolate and build the side glutes. If you’re looking for a finisher for your glute-building workout, the banded clamshell is a great way to fatigue the muscle and use the energy you have left – beware, the side glutes will be on fire after a few sets!


Side Glute Workout

Research shows that training a muscle twice a week is more beneficial for building muscle than once a week. For that reason, we have devised 2 workouts to help build muscle and get them side glutes popping.

These workouts do focus entirely on the side glutes. They are workouts designed to target the entire glute region with an emphasis on the side glutes.

The reason is that the side glutes (the medius and minimus) are only small muscles and dedicating an entire 45-minute workout to them is over the top. Instead, the workout has been designed to develop the entire glute region with a special emphasis on the side glutes, for those of us who may be lacking in this department.

You’ll therefore notice some exercises that haven’t been listed in this guide. That’s because they're not necessarily our side glute building exercises, but our upper and lower glute building exercises required for a balanced glute building workout. 


Glute Workout A


Sets and reps

Banded Hip Thrusts

4 Sets of 8 reps

Lateral Step Ups

3 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg

Bulgarian Split Squats

3 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg

Medius Kickbacks

3 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg

Banded Clamshells

3 sets of 12-15 reps for each leg

Stairmaster (optional)

5 minutes medium pace



Glute Workout A


Sets and reps

Banded Squats

4 Sets of 8 reps

Romanian Deadlifts

3 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg

Cable Side Lunge

3 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg


3 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg

Banded sidewalks

3 sets 0f 12-15 reps for each leg

Stairmaster (optional)

5 mins medium pace



Final Thoughts

There we have it, everything you need to know for growing the side glutes. If you’re someone who’s been developing well in the upper and lower glute department, but you feel that your side glutes are somewhat lacking behind - then jump onto our side glute workouts to bring them up to speed.

Our favourite side glute-building exercises will activate, strengthen, and build the side glutes. Remember to apply progressive overload to your training, eat enough food (and the right types of food) to fuel muscle growth and you’re on to a winner! Good luck with your glute-building journey and if you’re after more glute-building content – we have loads of articles on our blog so check them out, and enjoy!

Next Up:

How to grow glutes without growing the legs


Thomas D
Thomas D


Thomas is a dedicated fitness enthusiast with over 12 years of experience in the gym. As a level 2 qualified gym instructor, he combines his passion for working out and nutrition to help others achieve their fitness goals. Thomas stays up to date with the latest fitness research and follows the work of top experts in the field. With a balance of textbook knowledge and real-life experience, he provides practical guidance to help others reach their full potential.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.