Gluteus Medius – Anatomy, Function, And Exercises

Gluteus Medius - Anatomy, Function & Exercises Thumbnail

The Gluteus Medius is one of the most important muscles, yet often forgotten. But what is it? No – it’s not the bulk of the butt; however, it has an important role in our hip and overall wellness. Let us dive into the Gluteus Medius Exercises as we go on.

Gluteus Medius Anatomy

The gluteus medius is a muscle located in the butt area, specifically on the outer surface of the hip bone. It is part of the three muscles that make up a group called gluteus muscles, along with the gluteus minimus and the main part of the butt, the gluteus maximus. The gluteus medius muscle originates from the outer surface of the ilium, or pelvic bone, and inserts on the greater trochanter of the femur, the bony protrusion on the top of the thigh bone.

Gluteus Medius Exercises - Anatomy

Gluteus Medius Function

The gluteus medius is responsible for abducting and rotating the hip joint internally and stabilizing the pelvis during activities such as walking, running, and jumping. A weak or dysfunctional gluteus medius can lead to compensations and altered movement patterns, contributing to various injuries and impairments. It can also lead to a gait abnormality called Trendelenburg gait which results in a drop in the opposite pelvic area during walking. Therefore, strengthening the gluteus medius with Gluteus Medius Exercises is important for maintaining proper movement and preventing injuries.

Common Mistakes That Weaken The Gluteus Medius Muscle

Before we talk about how to strengthen the gluteus medius, let’s first discuss some very common mistakes you may be doing that could be weakening the muscles. These errors have all been found to contribute to weakening the gluteus medius and cause issues with hip control and stability.

1. Standing With Weight Shifted

Standing with the pelvis swayed to one side forces excessive hip abduction. Maintaining this position for an extended period of time can eventually lengthen the gluteus medius muscle1, which may result in decreased hip stability, which can cause lower back pain or contribute to the Trendelenburg gait. A Trendelenburg gait is abnormal from a defective hip abductor mechanism. Therefore, you need Gluteus Medius Exercises

Gluteus Medius Exercises-Standing With Weight Shifted

2. Sleeping On the Side With No Pillow

Sleeping on one side with no pillow can result in weak gluteus medius muscles. When you lay on your side with no support between your legs, your top leg must cross over your bottom leg to rest on the bed. This requires the abduction of your hip. Being that you may be in this position for a lengthy period of time, excessive stress is placed on the gluteus medius by requiring it to maintain a stretched position for a very long time. Again, this will weaken the muscles and can result in the same condition of hip instability.

Gluteus Medius Exercises-Sleeping On the Side With No Pillow

Quick Fix: Use a pillow in between your legs. This will allow the top leg to rest supported with no abduction

3. Sitting With Legs Crossed For Extended Periods Of Time

Sitting for extended periods of time with your legs crossed has the same effect as sleeping on your side, forcing the top leg into long periods of abduction. As mentioned above, this can indeed lengthen the gluteus medius muscle and weaken the hips.

Sitting With Legs Crossed For Extended Periods Of Time

Quick Fix: Use a different method to sit, preferably with legs closed and ankles crossed. If you must sit with your legs crossed, be mindful of switching the top leg often. 

Benefits Of Gluteus Medius Strengthening

Strengthening the gluteus medius muscle can provide several benefits, including:

  • Improved Stability And Balance

The gluteus medius is essential for stabilizing the pelvis during walking, running, and jumping activities. Strengthening this muscle with Gluteus Medius Exercises can help improve balance and reduce the risk of falls.

  • Reduced Risk Of Injuries

Weak gluteus medius muscles can contribute to injuries such as iliotibial (IT) band syndrome, knee pain, and lower back pain. Strengthening this muscle can help prevent these injuries.

  • Enhanced Athletic Performance

Strong gluteus medius muscles can improve athletic performance by providing power and stability while running, jumping, and changing direction.

  • Improved Posture

The gluteus medius helps to maintain proper alignment of the hips, pelvis, and spine. Strengthening this muscle can improve posture and reduce the risk of developing back pain.

  • Reduced Hip Pain

Strengthening the gluteus medius can help alleviate hip pain caused by conditions such as bursitis or arthritis.

Gluteus Medius Exercises

1. Standing Hip Abduction

This exercises the hip muscles while bearing weight on one leg. Stand and hold on a firm surface to ensure safety. Lift your leg sideward slowly. Then, try to keep your back straight.  Hold for 5 to 6 counts. Return to a standing position and repeat 10 times.

Standing Hip Abduction

2. Side-lying Hip Abduction

This exercises the muscles of the hip, particularly the gluteus medius. While in a side-lying position, bend the knee nearer the floor or bed for support. Then, lift your leg backward upwards around 45 degrees.  Hold for 5 to 6 counts.  Lower your leg and repeat 10 times. You may use an ankle weight to add more resistance.

Side-lying Hip Abduction 1 Start

Side-lying Hip Abduction 2 End

3. Clamshell Exercise

Lie on your side. Bent your knees bent with your ankles in line with your hips. Lift your top knee towards the ceiling while keeping your feet together. Lower your leg and repeat 10 times. You may use resistance bands to add more resistance. This exercises the muscles of the hip, particularly the gluteus medius.

Clamshell Exercise 1 Start

Clamshell Exercise 2 End


Strengthening the gluteus medius muscle with Gluteus Medius Exercises has many benefits and is especially important for those experiencing hip instability and conditions like osteoarthritis.  Doing the strengthening exercises slowly while starting up will allow you to build up the appropriate strength and endurance of the body. And one must also consider resting your body, eating well, and exercising consistently for optimum results.

Time to strengthen your gluteus medius with our Best Gluteus Medius Exercises!Best Gluteus Maximus Exercises - Digital Download