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9 Top Tier Gluteus Minimus Exercises

February 07, 2024

The best gluteus minimus exercises

The gluteus minimus is the smallest of the 3 muscles in the glute region, and because of this, it tends to get neglected.

But doing so is not a good idea. A strong and well-developed glute minimus has several benefits. Firstly, it’s the glute minimus along with its bigger sibling the glute medius that is responsible for the appearance of the top sides of the butt.

So if you want to build that upper glute shelf, don’t sleep on the gluteus minimus.

Secondly, the minimus plays a vital role in pelvic alignment and stability. If you want to stay injury-free so that you can continue with your exercise regime then we must put aside adequate time to train our glute minimus. Failing to do so could result in back, knee, and hip pain – something we want to try and avoid at all costs.

Luckily, plenty of exercises are available to help target the gluteus minimus. In today's article, we'll be talking about glute anatomy, sharing some of the best gluteus minimus exercises, and we’ll design 2 workouts for you to try.

But before that, let’s get to the basics.


Glute Minimus Role and Anatomy

The fact that you’re looking for exercises to target the gluteus minimus tells us that you more than likely have at least a basic understanding of glute anatomy. But to paint a picture for those who don’t, let's start at the beginning.

The gluteus muscles otherwise known as the glutes are made up of three separate muscles.

Gluteus Minimus anatomy

Glute Maximas

The largest and most well-known muscle in the glute region is the gluteus maximas. It’s the most superficial of the 3 muscles and is responsible for hip extension i.e...Increasing the angle between the thigh and the pelvis (think coming out the bottom of a squat position).


Glute Medius

The gluteus medius is the 2nd largest muscle in the glute region. The medius is located above and to the side of the glute max and is responsible for hip abduction (moving the leg outwards away from the body) and hip internal/external rotation (twisting the foot inwards/outwards).


Glute Minimus

The reason you’re here – the gluteus minimus.

Also known as the smallest of the three glute muscles, the minimus is located deep within the hip underneath the medius. This fan-shaped muscle originates from the ilium, or hip bone, and inserts onto the greater trochanter of the femur, or thigh bone. Its position allows it to play a key role in the stability and movement of the hip joint.

The role of the minimus is to work together with the medius for hip abduction:

Hip abduction movement example


…and hip internal/external rotation:

Internal and External rotation


The minimus is often overlooked during exercise routines and is frequently underdeveloped in individuals who experience hip pain or dysfunction. This is significant because the gluteus minimus plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy posture and failure to train it sufficiently can lead to all kinds of uninvited injuries.  


The 9 Best Gluteus Minimus Exercises

We’ve put together the 9 best exercises to build the glute minimus and develop those side glutes.


1. Hip Abduction Machine

Hip abduction machine


Are you ready to give your side glutes a serious boost? The hip abduction machine is an incredible exercise that will sculpt your upper side glutes and strengthen your gluteus minimus like no other. This machine requires you to sit in a comfortable position with your legs placed on pads, then gradually push your legs outwards against resistance. Not only will you feel the burn, but you will also isolate and activate the medius and minimus muscles resulting in great development in this region.

But that's not all. This machine is a game-changer when it comes to building both the medius and minimus. With consistent use, it allows for progressive overload, making it easier to increase the resistance over time and get the most out of your workout. The stability provided by the machine ensures that you can put all your energy into targeting your gluteus minimus and getting the best possible results.

So if you're looking for an exercise that will help you achieve the booty of your dreams, it’s a sound idea to include the hip abduction machine into your workout regime.


2. Curtsy Lunges

Curtsy lunge exercise example


This exercise is a powerhouse for not only targeting the gluteus minimus but for also targeting the medius and maximas muscles to sculpt a shapely backside. By stepping one foot behind the other and lowering down into a lunge, you activate your glutes, quads, and hamstrings – it really is an awesome compound glute movement.

Curtsy lunges are a highly versatile exercise that can be modified to suit your fitness level. Want to add more intensity? Load up with dumbbells or a barbell for an extra challenge. Plus, curtsy lunges are functional, so the strength you build can help transfer into everyday activities and sporting disciplines.


3. Banded Clam Shells

Banded clam shell exercise


Banded clam shells are a must-try exercise for anyone who wants to sculpt a strong and toned butt. The use of a resistance band during this exercise means that the resistance gets greater the further you go through the range of motion. This creates a unique resistance curve with the hardest part of the movement being when the muscle is in the shortened position, which can help to engage and activate the target muscle.

This activation is crucial for building a well-defined, lifted butt. Moreover, banded clam shells are a low-impact exercise, which makes it an excellent option for people with knee or joint pain.

One of the best things about banded clam shells is that they require very little space and equipment, making them a great addition to your home glute workout routine. With just a resistance band and a small space to lie down, you can effectively strengthen your glutes and improve your hip stability.

So if you're looking for an exercise that is easy to do and provides excellent results, then banded clam shells are definitely worth adding to your fitness routine. You'll be amazed at the impact these simple movements can have on your overall lower body strength and the shapeliness of your butt.


4. Banded Lying Hip Abduction

Banded lying hip abduction is another highly effective exercise that specifically targets the gluteus minimus muscle while also engaging the other gluteus medius. This exercise involves lying on the side with a resistance band strapped around the ankles and then elevating the top leg upwards towards the ceiling.

Likewise, with the banded clamshell, the use of a resistance band creates a unique resistance curve that you can’t benefit from with free weight exercises.

Similarly, the reason we like this exercise so much is because it doesn’t require any fancy gym equipment – you can do it without leaving the front door!


5. Fire Hydrants

Fire hydrants are one of our favorite exercises to target the gluteus minimus muscle, providing a straightforward path to build a firm and shapely butt. This exercise requires getting down on all fours and lifting one leg to the side, similar to a dog marking its territory on a fire hydrant.

The movement engages the gluteus minimus muscle, along with other muscles located in the glutes and hips. Due to being low-impact, fire hydrants are a superb option for individuals with discomfort in their joints or knees, or for those recovering from an injury.

Incorporating fire hydrants into your glute workout routine can be beneficial for building a stronger, more toned butt while also improving hip mobility and stability. Just like with all resistance band exercises, you can progressively overload the exercise by starting with a low resistance band and progressing to the higher-level bands once you hit the target rep ranges.

If you don't already own a set of resistance bands, we can recommend the following: 

Resistance Bands for Glutes


6. Lateral Lunge

This exercise is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to targeting your gluteus minimus muscle, as well as your quads, hamstrings, inner thighs as well as the other glute muscles.

When you perform a lateral lunge, you'll step to the side and lower down into a lunge position while keeping your opposite leg straight. By doing so, you'll engage your gluteus minimus muscle along with other muscles mentioned, giving you a full-blown lower-body workout.

You can also add weight to this exercise by using a kettlebell or dumbbell, which will help to further sculpt, build, and tone your glutes. Incorporating this exercise into your fitness routine will not only help to strengthen and tone your glutes, but it will also improve your overall stability and balance.


7. Cable Standing Hip abduction

Want to build an upper glute shelf? Cable hip abduction is the exercise you need. This fantastic exercise targets both the gluteus minimus and medius muscles and helps to build a firm and sculpted backside.

With a cable machine and ankle attachment, you can easily perform hip abduction movements with progressive overload. As you increase the resistance, your gluteus minimus muscle is challenged and strengthened bringing maximum results.

Cable hip abduction provides a smooth and controlled movement, allowing you to effectively target your glutes with the correct form. Plus, cable machines offer high stability, reducing the risk of injury and allowing you to focus on the mind-muscle connection.

Another benefit of using the cable machine to target the glutes is that the cable provides constant tension throughout the range of motion. This constant tension brings a unique muscle-building stimulus and can help level up your glute development.


8. Banded Side Walks

Looking for a simple yet effective way to train the minimus? Banded sidewalks are the answer.

Banded exercises are awesome because as we previously mentioned, they don’t require any hefty gym equipment – just you and a band and you’re ready to smash the glutes.

The banded sidewalk is a great exercise that effectively engages the glutes and has a high level of muscle activation. You can either program the exercise as a working set or use it as part of a warm-up to activate the glutes in order to prep them before heavier glute exercises such as squats and deadlifts.


9. Side Plank Hip Dips

Side plank hip dips are a fantastic exercise for targeting your gluteus minimus muscle, as well as your obliques and core muscles. This exercise involves starting in a side plank position and then lowering your hip towards the ground and raising it back up again.

One of the best advantages of this exercise? It doesn’t require any equipment at all, not a carrot! (or resistance band). So if you’re stuck at home without your bands – this is the exercise for you.

Moreover, side plank hip dips can be easily modified to increase or decrease the difficulty level, depending on your fitness level and goals.

Ready to take on a challenge? Try throwing some abduction into the mix at the top of the movement, you thank us later (or hate us!).


Glute Minimus Workout

The glute minimus is only a small muscle, so dedicating an entire workout to training them is unnecessary.

If you’re looking to build either the medius or minimus (we say either because if you target one, you’ll be targeting the other due to them having very similar roles), we recommend training glutes as a whole, with a purposeful emphasis on the minimus.

For that reason, we have designed 2 glute workouts that target all of the glute muscles with the emphasis placed on the minimus.

And if you’re wondering why there are 2 workouts, it’s because research has found that training a muscle twice a week brings more hypertrophic benefits than training either once or three times a week!


Glute Workout 1




4 sets of 8-10 reps

Romanian Deadlift

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Lateral Lunge

3 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg

Seated Abduction

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Banded Clam Shells

3 sets to failure


Glute Workout 2



Hip Thrust

4 sets of 8-10 reps

Bulgarian Split Squat

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Curtsy Lunges

3 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg

Cable Standing Hip Abduction

3 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg

Side Plank Hip Dips

3 sets to failure



Benefits of Strong Gluteus Minimus

When it comes to the benefits of a strong gluteus minimus muscle, the list is long and impressive. Let's have a look at the main benefits of developing the smallest muscle in the glute region:


Improved Hip Stability

A strong gluteus minimus muscle can help keep your hips stable and prevent joint pain, stiffness, and injury. This muscle is a key factor in maintaining balance, so if it's weak in this department, you may find yourself feeling unsteady when performing exercises.  


Reduced Risk of Knee Injuries

A strong gluteus minimus muscle can also help protect your knees by improving the alignment of the knee by reducing excessive hip rotation. This can help take the pressure off the knee joint, making it less prone to injury. If you have a weak gluteus minimus, you may be more susceptible to knee pain and dysfunction.


Increase Athletic Performance

Whether you’re an athlete or fitness enthusiast, you'll be happy to know that a strong gluteus minimus muscle can improve your performance by providing additional power and stability to your hip joint. Many movements originate from the hip joint, so you can become faster, stronger, and more powerful by developing the minimus.


Improve Your Posture

A strong gluteus minimus muscle can also improve your posture and reduce lower back pain by aligning your pelvis correctly. This can make everyday activities, like walking or lifting objects, more comfortable and pain-free.

This also helps to remain pain-free when performing powerhouse exercises such as the squat and deadlift.


Build Rounder Glutes

Last but not least, a strong gluteus minimus muscle can help build a more toned and rounder butt. Although the minimus is the smallest of the 3 glute muscles, building this muscle will help to develop the upper side glutes completing the peach shape that many people strive for.


The Final Say

So there you have it, folks. If you want to sculpt the perfect booty it's time to start paying attention to your glute minimus muscle.

With these 9 amazing exercises, you can strengthen and tone your glutes like never before, and enjoy a whole host of benefits along the way. From improved posture and reduced pain to enhanced athletic performance and a better-looking backside, a strong gluteus minimus is the key to unlocking your true potential.

So, what are you waiting for? Print screen one of the 2 workouts we have designed above ready for your next glute day – enjoy!

Next Up:

Best machines to level up glute growth

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.

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