Best exercises for the glute muscles
We previously discussed the consequences of weakness in the lateral glute muscles (here), how to measure them (here) & how much strength you need, so now we discuss how to strengthen them!
There are plenty of options for strengthening here, & we are fortunate that in their 2017 systematic review, Ebert et al examined and ranked all the different exercises to target the gluteus medius. Here are the exercises, ranked from lowest to highest maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC). So if you need to strengthen these muscles, opt for exercises in the high or very high MVIC group.
Low (0–20% MVIC)
Single leg stance (stable surface)
Double leg squat
Moderate (21–40% MVIC)
Prone hip extension with flexed knee (90°)
Quadruped with straight leg hip extension (test limb NWB)
Quadruped with bent knee hip extension (test limb WB)
Supine bridge double leg
Standing hip abduction in neutral hip position (test limb NWB), also good for anterior & posterior glut minimus by adding extension (Moore 2019)
Single leg stance (unstable stance)
Standing hip circumduction on an unstable surface (test limb WB)
High (41–60% MVIC)
Quadruped with bent knee hip extension (test limb NWB)
Bird Dog (test limb NWB)
Single leg bridge
Sidelying leg raise (internal rotation increases activation: Moore 2020)
Standing maximal gluteal squeeze
Standing hip flexion/extension (test limb WB)
Standing hip circumduction on a stable surface (test limb WB)
Single leg squat
Single leg deadlift (arabeqsue)
Front step up
Lateral step up
Very high (˃61% MVIC)
Side plank (test limb WB)
Front plank with added bent knee hip extension (test limb NWB)
Front plank with added bent knee hip extension (test limb WB)
Side bridge with additional hip abduction (test leg NWB)
Side bridge with additional hip abduction (test leg WB)
So there you have it, a wide variety of exercises to chose from there to target those lateral hip muscles. If you need further help, please don't hesitate to contact us at www.healthhp.com.au
Ebert, J. R., et al. (2017). "A Systematic Review of Rehabilitation Exercises to Progressively Load the Gluteus Medius." J Sport Rehabil 26(5): 418-436.
Moore, D., et al. (2019). "Rehabilitation Exercises for the Gluteus Minimus Muscle Segments: An Electromyography Study." J Sport Rehabil 28(6): 544-551.
Moore, D., et al. (2020). "Adding hip rotation to therapeutic exercises can enhance gluteus medius and gluteus minimus segmental activity levels - An electromyography study." Phys Ther Sport 43: 157-165.