Are you finding it hard to get results on your turn out? Despite working really hard on them? The glutes minimus may be the problem. Stretch and strengthen them with these glutes minimus exercises so that your external rotators can move freely.

In today’s article we’ll dive deep into this specific muscle the gluteus minimus. You’re going to discover some of the greatest exercises and stretches but before all that let’s talk about the anatomy, function, injuries and treatments.

Anatomy

The gluteus minimus is a small triangular muscle located deep in the posterior region of the hip, spanning from the gluteal surface of the ilium to the proximal end of the femur. It belongs to the group of gluteal muscles, along with the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and tensor fasciae latae.

Function

Gluteus minimus acts in association with the gluteus medius to produce the two main movements on the hip joint; the internal rotation and abduction of the thigh.

Said differently, the main functions of the gluteus minimus are to move the legs out to the side away from the body (abduction) and rotate the leg inward.

As muscles do not function individually, they work in groups the glutes are the muscles that overlay the deep external rotators. These give you your rotation.

This is why it is important to strengthen and stretch the glutes so that the external rotators can function without any contraindications from impeding muscle groups.

Relations

The gluteus minimus is the smallest and the deepest of all three gluteal muscles. Its deep surface is entirely related to the ilium (the upper part of the hip bone), and is covered by the gluteus medius muscle.  

Key facts about the gluteus minimus muscle

  • Origin – Gluteal surface of ilium (between anterior and inferior gluteal lines)
  • Insertion – Anterior aspect of greater trochanter of femur
  • Action –   Hip joint: Thigh abduction, thigh internal rotation (anterior part); Pelvis stabilization
  • Innervation – Superior gluteal nerve (L4-S1)
  • Blood supply – Superior gluteal artery, trochanteric anastomosis

Lifestyle factors effecting the glutes minimus

Sitting for long periods of time with your legs crossed, carrying heavy objects, or applying pressure to one hip while standing can injure the gluteus minimus.

The discomfort is often described as pain in the posterior and lateral (outside) area of the thigh or pain that runs down the calf and numbness along the affected leg.

With our lifestyle heavily influenced by sitting for long periods of time not only can the glutes minimums become weak, it can also become extremely tight. Consequently throwing our hips and pelvis out of balance. That is why we need to incorporate a regular glutes minimus exercise and stretching regime into our daily routine.

“When your glutes are weak, they can cause decreased mobility in the hips

The body then over-compensates for that lack of function and mobility from those two areas, which then leads to improper use of the rest of the muscles and functions in the body,” says Dr. Saadiq El-Amin, MD, PhD.

In order to keep everything balanced incorporate these seven glutes minimus exercises prescribed in this article.

Contraindications Of Weak Glutes Minimus

Exercises

As we said earlier this muscle is extremely important for hip stabilization, turn out and strength when you are performing extensions that require balancing on one leg.

To keep your gluteus minimus strong you will need to perform hip abduction exercises.

Prior to any targeted exercises or stretches make sure you warm up and get that blood pumping. A quick and dirty warm up I use is:

  • 40 jumping jacks
  • 30 plies
  • 20 mountain climbers
  • 10 crunches

Always consult with your doctor before starting a workout regimen.

Let’s get started

Glutes Minimus Exercises

Knee Knocks Routine

https://www.instagram.com/p/BVGF8-Hhi1c/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=embed_video_watch_again

Rainbows

How To:

  • Laying on your side. Elbow in line with shoulder, shoulder in line with wrist.
  • Raise the top leg and bring it forward to touch the floor in front of you.
  • Lift the leg and tap the floor behind you.
  • Bring the foot back to center in the starting position.

Internal Rotation Leg Raises

How To:

  • Laying on your right side with the legs together.
  • Elevate the left leg and rotate the leg in towards the center of the body.
  • Lower the leg to the starting position.
  • Repeat 3 sets of 15.

Bent Knee Side Bridge

The bent knee side bridge will work out both sides of your bootie!

How To:

  • Lie on your right side. Place your right elbow under your right shoulder and your right forearm perpendicular to your body. P
  • lace your left hand on your left hip.
  • Bend both knees to 90 degrees and keep them bent.
  • Keep your hips fully extended.
  • Push into your right forearm and lift your right hip off the floor.
  • Simultaneously lift your left leg up.
  • Slowly lower to the floor.
  • Complete three sets of 15.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Straight Leg Side Bridge

Side bridge is similar to bent-knee side bridge. However, your legs are straight in side bridge. It’s more challenging, as it demands more work out of your gluteus minimus.

How To:

  • Assume the same position as in bent-knee side bridge, but in this exercise your legs are straight.
  • Push into your bottom forearm as you lift your hip off the mat, balancing on the lateral edge of your bottom foot.
  • Simultaneously lift your top leg.
  • Slowly lower your top leg down to meet your bottom leg and lower your hip to the floor.
  • Complete three sets of 15.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Transverse Abduction

Transverse abduction is the movement of your leg away from the body when the hip is bent or flexed.

How To:

  • On all fours, place a resistance band around the thighs.
  • Extend the right leg out and away from the body.
  • Slowly lower it down to the starting position.
  • Complete three sets of 15.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Kettlebell Swings

How To:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width with a kettlebell about a foot in front of you.
  • With your weight in your heels, hinge at your hips while lowering your hands to the kettlebell handle.
  • Grab the kettlebell with an overhand grip, “Hike” the kettlebell back between your legs, catching the force of the moving kettlebell with your hips.
  • Exhale as you swing the kettlebell forward by thrusting your hips, straightening your legs, and squeezing your glutes and abs.
  • Once the kettlebell reaches chest height, inhale as you allow it to fall, and guide it back to the “hiked” position.

Glutes Minimus Stretches

Seated Pretzel Stretch

Stretching after performing strengthening exercises will help restore your muscles.

How To:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you and your right hand on the floor behind you.
  • Bend your right knee and cross it over your left leg.
  • Reach your left arm up then cross it over your right leg, placing your left elbow on the outside of your right thigh.
  • Hold the pose for six long and deep breaths, twisting deeper on each exhale.
  • Repeat on the other side. For a deeper stretch, bend your bottom leg.

Cross Legged Glutes Minimus Stretch

How To:

  • Sitting down with your feet out in front of you, the knees are bent and the feet are flat on the floor.
  • Raise the left leg keeping the left foot flexed and bring it on top of the right. The ankles and knees stack.
  • Drop the knees towards the right.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Aeroplane Roll Ins

How To:

  • From warrior three position with your right leg being the supporting leg.
  • Fold the left hip as though you are trying to get the left hip to touch the inner right thigh.
  • Repeat several times.

Double Pigeon

How To:

  • Sitting upright bring the right leg in front of you with the knee bent and the foot flexed.
  • Stack the left leg on top of the right.
  • The left ankle sits on top of the right knee, left knee sits on top of the right ankle.
  • Fold from the hips and walk the hands forward.
  • To mix it up you can gently rock from side to side.
  • Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

Gluteus Minimus Injuries

A recent study published in 2019 by National Institute of Health, showed that chronic lateral hip pain is commonly caused by the tear of the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.

This acute traumatic tear is rare but can occur. In most cases, chronic injuries are far more common than acute tears. Because of the nonspecific and slowly progressive symptoms, patients are often misdiagnosed with other conditions such as osteoarthritis.

This pain is often described worse when lying on the affected side. Based on this study certain movements which require gluteal activation, such as climbing stairs, may exacerbate the pain. 

Treatment

Ice, specific glute minimus exercises, and rest may be helpful. Most commonly, gluteus muscle injuries heal with time and no further treatment.

Some patients with gluteal injuries have difficulty sitting comfortably. A stool softener may be considered for a short period of time.

If the gluteal injury is due to overuse, or an abnormal gait (pattern of walking), physical therapy may be considered to prevent further injury and inflammation.

Physical therapy like massaging and ultrasound may also be helpful in treating. Rehab may include exercises to strengthen muscles and maintain range of motion to prevent future injury.

In some circumstances, medical professionals may consider administering steroid injections. Using ultrasound, a long needle is guided near the injury site so that the injected steroid can work directed at the site of inflammation.

Surgery is not commonly considered but may be an option when nonsurgical treatments have failed, and torn muscles need to be repaired.

As the 2019 study reported if treatments like physical therapy, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug for pain, and cortico-steroid and local anesthetic injection might fail (extremely rare) the patient should consider operative repair. Returning to the preinjury lifestyle takes around 6 months.

Last Words

When you are training for increased mobility and flexibility in the body it is imperative that you keep the body in harmony. Strength and flexibility needs to be equal on the agonist and antagonist in order to avoid weakening and shortening of the muscle groups.

Healthy hips are one of the essential foundations for flexibility and contortion. If you are trying to increase your range of motion through the back or legs you need to have a strong pelvis with unrestricted muscle or fascia tightness.

I would reccommened doing these 7 glutes minimus exercises at least three times a week in order to build strength and harmony in the pelvis.

Tell me, which of the glutes minimus exercises was your favourite? Do you have some to share? I would love to hear them. Drop them in the comments below and I can add them to the post!

If you need some motivation or personal feedback you can always join me for a Flexibility & Contortion Class.

In happiness and health,

Vanessa Barthelmes.

Check out my flexibility classes and online coaching.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Are there any standing exercises, perhaps like ballerina in the final image, to do for the gluteus minimus?

    I had a spinal hernia at the lowest point on the right side of my spine as a result of swimming crawl leg kicks over zealously, about 10 years ago and I think that as Dr. Back, Dr. Stuart McGill says, I got “glute amnesia,” because it was a butt muscle that caused the hernia so it went to sleep in shame.

    After ten years of having a pain in my bum, which I was often sort of poking, I find that I have hip instability when I do lunge like movements (or jog, or even cycle). My hip on the same side feels like it is going to come out of its socket, so I wobble. It is awful. I am about to be an old man (I am 56, so it is about time) It seems to me that my gluteus minimus when to sleep and got really weak.

    Now I am doing doing all the exercise that I can find. Diagonal donkey kicks (between a donkey kick and a hydrant) and extended leg hydrants seem to work best. I just put 9 kg on my ankle and sort of waved in a zig-zag pattern diagonally backwards when on all fours. That seems to have helped.

    If I could do it standing then I would exercise both hips at the same time, and I just prefer to stand up rather than go down on all fours, but it does not seem to hit the spot.

    • If you have pelvis instability I would look at working your lower internal core (pelvic floor) & deep core being your transverse abdominis as well as the glutes.

      Are you wanting the poses standing because you don’t want to be on your knees or the back is painful in other postures of the body?

      I used to suffer from disk herniations too, which actually got me into flexibility training. The ironic thing is that back bends help with disk herniation. Gently cobras would be good for the spine. Because the disk is bulging out towards the posterior spine a gentle back bend will help move it back into place. Can you tell me where the bulge is in the spine? Is it in the lumber spine or cocyx?

      When you say your hip feels like it is going to come out of the socket, which direction are you feeling that in? Down to the floor, out to the side or during flexion or extension?

      Let me know and I can give you some recommendations!

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