The 5 Best Glute Medius Exercises: Strengthen Your Glutes and Improve Stability

The 5 Best Glute Medius Exercises: Strengthen Your Glutes and Improve Stability

Maintaining an active lifestyle requires strong and stable muscles, and one crucial muscle often overlooked is the gluteus medius. The gluteus medius, located in the buttocks, plays a key role in hip stability and overall lower body strength. In this blog post, we will explore the five best exercises to target the gluteus medius, including squats, lateral movements, one-legged exercises, and side planks. By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you can strengthen your glutes and improve stability effectively.

1. Squats:

Squats are renowned for their effectiveness in targeting the glute muscles. Though squats will effectively engage the gluteus medius muscle, you might want to consider adding a theraband to promote further targeting. To engage the gluteus medius specifically, perform squats with a band around your knees to encourage abduction. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. As you squat down, keep your knees stacked on top of your ankles (don’t let the knees fall inwards). Return to the starting position, making sure you reach full hip extension, then repeat on the other leg. This exercise combines the benefits of squats with targeted gluteus medius activation through abduction.

2. Lateral Band Walks:

Lateral band walks are simple yet powerful exercises that specifically target the gluteus medius. Place a resistance band around your lower thighs or ankles, and assume a slight squat position. Step to the side, keeping tension on the band, and then bring the other foot towards the first foot. Repeat this lateral movement for a set number of repetitions. Lateral band walks effectively engage the gluteus medius, helping to strengthen and stabilize the muscles.

3. One-Legged Squats:

One-legged squats, also known as pistol squats, challenge your balance and target the gluteus medius on each leg individually. Stand on one leg with the other leg extended forward. Slowly lower your body into a squat position, ensuring that your knee stays aligned with your toes. Push through your heel to return to the starting position. This exercise effectively engages the gluteus medius while improving single-leg strength and stability.

4. Side Plank with Hip Rotation:

Side planks are excellent exercises for engaging the entire core, including the gluteus medius. Begin by lying on your side and supporting your body with one forearm, while your feet are stacked on top of each other. Lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your head to your feet. From this position, rotate your top hip towards the ceiling, then return to the starting position. Repeat this rotational movement for the desired number of repetitions. Side planks with hip rotation effectively engage the gluteus medius and promote stability in the hips.

5. Clamshells:

Clamshells are a classic exercise specifically targeting the gluteus medius. Start by lying on your side with your knees bent and your feet together. Keeping your feet together, lift your top knee as high as possible while maintaining alignment of your hips. Slowly lower the knee back down and repeat for the desired number of repetitions. Clamshells effectively activate the gluteus medius and can help improve hip stability.


To strengthen your glutes and improve stability, incorporating these five best gluteus medius exercises into your routine is highly recommended. Squats with abduction, lateral band walks, one-legged squats, side planks with hip rotation, and clamshells target the gluteus medius muscle group effectively. Remember to start with proper form, gradually increase intensity, and listen to your body. By giving attention to your gluteus medius, you can enhance lower body strength, stability, and overall physical performance.


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Frequently Asked Questions

The gluteus medius is a muscle located on the side of your hip and is responsible for stabilizing your pelvis and rotating your thigh.

A weak gluteus medius can cause back pain, knee pain, and other injuries. Strengthening this muscle group can help prevent these issues and improve your overall performance in activities such as running and jumping.

Some of the best gluteus medius exercises include side lunges, lateral band walks, side planks with abduction, and standing hip abduction with a resistance band.

The best way to strengthen your glutes is to perform exercises that specifically target this muscle group, such as squats, deadlifts, and hip thrusts. However, it’s important to also work on your gluteus medius muscles for optimal performance.

It’s recommended to perform 8-12 reps per set for gluteus medius exercises and to complete 2-3 sets per workout. However, the exact number of reps and sets you should do will depend on your fitness goals and current fitness level.

Absolutely! One-leg exercises, such as single-leg squats and step-ups, can be very effective for strengthening weak gluteus medius muscles.

To activate your gluteus medius muscles, you can try exercises such as clamshells, lateral leg raises, and fire hydrants. These exercises can help you feel the muscles working.

About Jason Nenzel

Hi! My name’s Jason and I’m one of the Physical Therapists at South Island Physiotherapy. Navigating pain, injury, and attempting to improve physical performance can be confusing. Through years of experience in the field of orthopaedics, I have the knowledge and skills to help you understand your condition, manage pain, rehabilitate from acute/chronic injury, and pursue the life you want. My passion for Physiotherapy is influenced by my fascination with human adaption and resiliency. It’s amazing what the body can accomplish when we develop a unique physical rehabilitation protocol specific to your needs. When we do, the body encounters the correct stimulus, at the correct time, in a progressive manner, and powerful change can occur. If you’re interested in learning more about your body, managing pain, rehabilitating a new or old injury, and/or have a goal that you’d like to achieve – come on in and let’s work together.

Medical Disclaimer:

The information presented in this blog post is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, treatment or a diagnosis, consult with a medical professional such as one suggested on this website. The Clinic Accelerator Inc. and the author of this page are not liable for the associated risks of using or acting upon the information contained in this article.

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