The glute muscles, or glutei, are among the most important muscles in your body.
And stronger glutes won’t just help you squat heavier; they’ll also assist in everyday functional movements, such as standing up and climbing stairs.
So training the glutes is essential for both strength and mobility.
The gluteus maximus is the largest glute muscle, forming the middle and lower part of the buttocks. The gluteus medius is the second-largest, located at the top.
And the gluteus maximus is the smallest glute muscle, located underneath the gluteus medius.
Each glute muscle supports the other – so making sure to engage each muscle is important if you want strong glutes overall with no weak links.
To level up your glute workouts, here are the 7 best gluteus minimus exercises for muscle gain and fat loss.
The following exercises will increase strength, build glute muscle, and promote fat loss by helping you to burn more calories!
1. Glute Bridges
Glute bridges are a simple bodyweight exercise that effectively target the gluteus minimus and gluteus maximus muscles due to the contraction that mimics the hip thrust.
The best thing is that glute bridges can be done at home without any equipment!
Beginners can start doing glute bridges by performing the exercise on the floor. To increase the difficulty, it’s possible to elevate the legs or hold some kind of weight at the pelvis.
This can be a dumbbell, weight plate, or even a heavy household item.
How To Do A Glute Bridge
- Lie down on the floor on your back (ideally with a gym/yoga mat) with your arms by your side and palms flat
- Bring your feet towards you so that your lower legs are vertical
- With your feet flat on the floor, push through your feet and raise your hips
- Engage your quads and core, and squeeze your glutes
- Lower back down to complete one rep
For best form, make sure to keep your lower legs (shins) vertical throughout the exercise.
Bring your hips as high as you can, keeping your body straight from your knees to your chest, and squeeze your glutes to increase the effectiveness of the exercise.
2. Lateral Band Walks
Lateral band walks are similar to sumo squat walks except that the movement is performed side to side.
The exercise involves maintaining a squat position with bent knees, using a resistance band around the legs to increase resistance.
Beginners can start doing lateral band walks without a resistance band to build strength and improve form.
The exercise can be performed for sets or time, providing a good cardiovascular workout as well as great workout for the gluteus minimus!
How To Do A Lateral Band Walk
- If you have a resistance band, step inside it so that the band is around both of your legs
- Lower your body into a half squat position
- Keeping your knees bent, make a wide step to the side with your leading foot, followed by your other foot
- Repeat for time or as many reps as desired, moving side to side with the space that you have available
For best form, make sure to keep your knees bent throughout the exercise to maintain tension on the quads and glutes.
Keep your back slightly arched and try to make the size of each step consistent.
3. Curtsy Lunges
The curtsy lunge is a more challenging variation of the reverse lunge, which can be performed without any equipment.
Since the legs crossover with each rep, the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus muscles are engaged more in curtsy lunges than regular lunges.
This also means that curtsy challenges require a good level of mobility and balance, in addition to leg and glute strength.
Beginners can perform the exercise next to a wall or holdable surface to assist with balance.
How To Do A Curtsy Lunge
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Bend one knee slightly and extend the other foot behind you so that your legs cross over
- Bend your extended leg until your knee touches the floor
- Return to a standing position to complete one rep, then perform the exercise again switching to your other leg
For best form, make sure to maintain an upright posture and touch your knee to the floor with each rep.
Bring your foot forward enough so that your knees bend as close to 90 degrees as possible.
4. Fire Hydrants
Fire hydrants are an effective gluteus minimus exercise that, you might be glad to know, can also be done at home with no equipment.
The exercise is similar to donkey kicks, but involves raising each leg to the side, instead of behind, to target the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.
The additional benefit of doing fire hydrants is that the exercise will also improve mobility and flexibility.
The hip flexors play a big part in performing the exercise, and strengthening them will provide physical benefits that will carry over into everyday movement.
How To Do A Fire Hydrant
- Lower yourself onto the floor (ideally using a gym/yoga mat) with your palms and knees on the floor
- Maintaining level hips, raise one leg to the side while keeping your knees bent
- Lower your leg to complete one rep, then repeat the exercise with the other leg
For best form, try not to turn your body as you raise your legs.
You might not be able to raise your leg that high at first, but over time your mobility will improve, improving your form at the same time.
5. Side Bridges
Side bridges are another bodyweight exercise that can be done without equipment.
The exercise activates all the glute muscles, as well as obliques and core muscles. As a result, it’s also an effective abdominal exercise!
Side bridges require a degree of strength and balance.
You can still perform the exercise if you’re a beginner, however, as the difficulty can be reduced by balancing on your forearm instead of your palm.
How To Do A Side Bridge
- Lie on the floor on your side
- Push your upper body up onto your palm or forearm
- Your body should be fully aligned, including your free arm, which you can raise in the air or place on your hip
- Lower your hips towards the floor
- Raise your hips to complete one rep
For best form, make sure to keep your body aligned from your shoulders to your toes. Engage your core to help stability, and don’t forget to perform the exercise on both sides!
Like side bridges, the clamshell exercise is performed on your side. Clamshells are similar to fire hydrants, except that the difficulty is reduced due to how you’re raising your leg from a lying down position with less gravity working against you.
As a result, clamshells are a great exercise to do if you struggle with hydrants. If you find them easy, you can also increase the difficulty by using a resistance band around your thighs.
How To Do A Clamshell
- Lie down on your side with your head propped against your hand or resting on your upper arm
- Bend your knees slightly
- Raise your upper leg until your knee is facing upwards
- Lower your leg to complete one rep
For best form, perform the exercise with full range of motion, opening your hip flexors as much as you can. Aside from your knees, make sure your body is aligned from your head to your toes.
7. Pistol Squats
Last but not least: pistol squats. Pistol squats are an advanced squatting exercise that involves squatting on one foot.
The balance and stability required help target the gluteus minimus muscles, in addition to the quads and hamstrings.
Although an advanced exercise, pistol squats can be made easier for beginners!
This includes holding onto a surface (with one hand) to assist with balance, or performing the exercise with a chair or stool to lower yourself onto.
How To Do A Pistol Squat
- Stand upright with your feet close together
- Raise your arms in front of you for balance
- Bend one leg as you raise the other leg in front of you
- Lower your body into a squat
- Push your foot into the ground and activate your quads and glutes to return to a standing position for one rep
For best form, try not to touch the floor with your straight leg. Lower into a deep squat if possible and engage your core to help stability.
And that wraps up our list of the 7 best gluteus minimus exercises for muscle gain and fat loss.
The above exercises will strengthen your gluteus minimus muscle (and your glutes in general), increase glute and hip strength, and help you to lose weight by burning calories.
Some of these exercises will also help strengthen your legs and build leg muscle, as well as improve core strength, balance, and mobility.
Just make sure to perform each exercise with correct form to increase the effectiveness and reduce the risk of injury!