When you crank out a glutes workout, generally the largest muscle group (the gluteus maximus) gets the majority of the love. But if you really want to create a strong and supportive derrière, it’s also important to integrate exercises that target the other parts of your glutes—namely, the gluteus minimus and gluteus medius.

The latter muscle group, also referred to as your side glutes, is an often neglected area because it can be difficult to train. Although many exercises hit a majority of your glute muscles, sprinkling in a targeted side glutes exercise will allow you to make sure those harder-to-reach muscles get some much-needed attention.

And there are so many reasons to make training your side glutes a priority. Strong glutes can make walking and running more comfortable, support better balance, and even promote posture. Moral of the story: This isn’t a muscle group you’re going to want to skip.

Gearing up to head to the gym? Add some of the below exercises from our favorite trainers to your routine and you’ll notice the activation of your side glutes in no time. One pro tip we can offer is that adding a resistance band to your lower-body day will naturally increase the tension on your hips and glutes, taking your burn to the next level. You can thank us later.

double hip abduction

Demonstrated by BB Arrington.

How to:

  1. Sit on the floor propped up on one elbow, with knees bent in front of you. Make sure your elbow is underneath your armpit for stable support.
  2. Keeping your bottom knee on the floor, drive your hips up and forward into extension—your top leg will rotate toward the ceiling.
  3. Lower your hip back down to tap the floor.
  4. That’s one rep. Complete all reps on one side before repeating on the other.
  5. Note: The hip you will feel the most sensation in is the one close to the floor. 
lateral lunges

Demonstrated by Mindy Lai.

How to:

  1. Begin standing with your hands on your hips or in front of your chest.
  2. Take a big step to the left, bending the left knee and straightening out the right.
  3. Lower the hips down like you would in a squat.
  4. Rise back up, stepping the left foot back to center, squeezing the glutes, and keeping your chest lifted.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side for one full set.
  6. Continue for 30 seconds to a minute as part of a warmup, or complete 3 sets of 10.
CJ Frogozo - Curtsy Lunge To Squat

Demonstrated by CJ Frogozo.

How to:

  1. Start in a standing position. Bring your feet out wider than hip-distance apart, with toes pointed at 1 and 11.
  2. Lift one knee up next to your body, then cross that leg behind your opposite leg.
  3. Press your back toes into the ground, and bend your knees. Send your hips back, tailbone up, waist in, and shoulders down.
  4. Lift your back knee back up, place your foot back down into a squat position, then lower down into a squat.
  5. At the top of your squat, lift the opposite knee up and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Continue for 3 minutes.
lateral walk

Demonstrated by Janeil Mason.

How to:

  1. Begin on the right side of your mat, and place the mini band just above your ankles. Start with your feet hip-width apart; come into a half-squat position.
  2. Take one big step to the left with your left foot, then take a small step to the left with your right foot. Be sure to keep your knees from caving in.
  3. Continue until you reach the other side of your mat, then reverse the movement and return to start.
  4. Repeat for 60 seconds.

5. Progressive Squat Jump

progressive squat jump

Demonstrated by Janeil Mason.

How to:

  1. Bring the mini band right above your ankles.
  2. Lower down into a squat position and hold.
  3. Complete 1 jump squat, then come back to that starting position. Next, complete 2 squat jumps before coming back to start.
  4. Continue until you reach 5 squat jumps.

6. Side-Lying Hip Abduction

side lying hip abduction

Demonstrated by Suki Clements.

How to:

  1. Lie down on one side, and stretch your bottom arm out straight, resting your head on top. Bend your bottom knee. Press the fingertips of your top hand into the ground for support.
  2. Flex your top foot. Point the toes downward. Bring your belly button in to stabilize your core. 
  3. Kick your foot up, activating your right outer glutes. Then tap it down to the ground in front of you.
  4. Repeat for 30 seconds.

7. Squat + Lateral Leg Lift

squat to lateral lift

  1. From a standing position, sit your hips back and lower down into a squat, bringing your hands together in front of your chest. Keep your chest proud and your core engaged.
  2. Engage your glutes to come back up to start, and immediately lift your right leg to the side, as you bring your hands out wide for balance.
  3. Sit back into your squat and repeat the movement, alternating legs each time.

8. Lateral Leg-Lift Pulse

lateral leg lift pulse

Demonstrated by Rachel Warren & Caitlin Riley.

How to:

  1. Start with your right foot grounding into the floor, and your left leg lifting up. Extend your right arm out for balance.
  2. Engage the side of your glutes to pulse your left leg up. 
  3. Continue for as long as indicated. Repeat on the opposite side.

9. Squat + Brush Back Arabesque

squat brush back arabesque

Demonstrated by Rachel Warren & Caitlin Riley.

How to:

  1. Start in a wide stance, with feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Sit your hips back and lower into a squat. Engage your core, and keep your chest proud.
  3. As you engage your glutes and come back up to start, sweep your left leg behind your body, pointing your toe to the back wall.
  4. Bring your left foot down to the ground, and lower back into a squat.
  5. Repeat the movement, alternating legs each time.

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