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The Gluteus Minimus: A Muscle You Don't Want to Minimize

We all know the gluteus maximus - that big, powerful muscle that helps us lift, run, and, let's be real, fill out our jeans. But what about the lesser-known gluteus minimus? While it may not be as flashy as its bigger cousin, the gluteus minimus is still a crucial player in the game of proper hip and leg movement - and the elusive lower back pain.

Gluteus Minimus Muscle

Gluteus Minimus Muscle

Located in the lower, lateral part of the buttocks, this small, triangular muscle helps to abduct the hip and stabilize the pelvis. So don't underestimate the little guy - without the gluteus minimus, you might be feeling a little off balance. In this article, we'll delve into the ins and outs of the gluteus minimus, including causes of pain, trigger points, exercises, and stretches. Get ready to give this often-overlooked muscle some well-deserved attention!


Gluteus Minimus Pain

Pain in the gluteus minimus can be caused by a variety of factors, including muscle strain, trigger points, or a pinched nerve. Regardless of the sensation, the root cause is often muscle tension brought on by tightness, strain, and trigger points that can impinge nerves, create muscular imbalance, restrict movement, and cause pain.

Gluteus Minimus Pain Pattern

Gluteus Minimus Pain Pattern [1]

Symptoms of gluteus minimus pain may include:

  • Pain in the buttocks, especially when standing or walking for long periods of time [2]
  • Pain when moving the leg out to the side (abduction)
  • Pain when climbing stairs or hills
  • Decreased range of motion in the hip

If you are experiencing gluteus minimus pain, it is important to see a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Treatment may include rest, deep tissue work, physical therapy, and/or medication.


Gluteus Minimus Trigger Points

Trigger points, also known as muscle knots, can develop in the gluteus minimus and cause pain and discomfort. These trigger points can be caused by overuse, muscle strain, lack of glute stamina, or improper posture. The most common triggers of gluteus minimus pain I see are when the gluteus minimus muscle is forced to handle a stress that it can't handle. This can be lifting a heavy couch, playing basketball for 3 hours, or another stressful event that one's glutes are not conditioned for.

To release trigger points in the gluteus minimus, you can try massaging the muscle or using a gluteus minimus release tool like QL Claw. QL Claw is a great at-home tool because it can also release trigger points in all other main muscles that contribute to pains in the lower back, buttocks, and hips.

It is also important to address any underlying causes, such as poor posture or overuse, to prevent trigger points from recurring. To manage gluteus trigger points moving forward, read the sections on exercises and stretches below.



Gluteus Minimus Exercises

Strengthening and building endurance in the gluteus minimus can help improve hip stability and reduce the risk of injury. Here are a few exercises to target the gluteus minimus:

  1. Side-lying leg raises: Lie on your side with your legs straight out and together. Lift your top leg up as high as you can, then slowly lower it back down. Repeat for the desired number of reps (15-25), then switch sides.

  2. Side-lying clam shells: Lie on your side with your knees bent and feet together. Lift your top knee up as high as you can, then slowly lower it back down. Repeat for the desired number of reps, then switch sides. I love adding a resistance band and playing with the tempo (slow eccentric, pause reps) for this gluteus minimus exercise as well.

  3. Banded side steps: Place a resistance band around your ankles or knees and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step to the side with your right foot, then bring your left foot to meet it. Repeat for 10-20 reps for 2-3 sets. Switch sides before moving on to the next set.

Gluteus Minimus Exercise Side Lying Leg Raise

Gluteus Minimus Exercise 1: Side-Lying Leg Raise


Gluteus Minimus Exercise Banded Side Walks

Gluteus Minimus Exercise 3: Banded Side Walk


Gluteus Minimus Stretch

Stretching the gluteus minimus can help improve flexibility and reduce muscle tension. The less tension in gluteus minimus, the less hassle and pain you will have. Here is a simple stretch to try:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Cross your right ankle over your left knee.
  3. Use your left hand to gently press down on your right knee, while simultaneously lifting your head and shoulders off the ground.
  4. Hold the stretch for 45 seconds, then switch sides.

I also love working in tissue work with a QL Claw or foam roller before or during a gluteus minimus stretch. This can increase length and reduce tension in gluteus minimus more quickly and potently - see these graphics for reference:

Gluteus Minimus Release Using QL Claw

Gluteus Minimus Release & Stretch Using QL Claw

Gluteus Minimus Release Using Foam Roller

Gluteus Minimus Release & Stretch Using Foam Roller

Gluteus Minimus Stretch With No Tool

Gluteus Minimus Stretch With No Tool


Wrapping Up Gluteus Minimus

The gluteus minimus is a small but important muscle that helps to stabilize the pelvis and enable proper hip and leg movement. If you are experiencing gluteus minimus pain or trigger points, try working in some deep tissue massage, stretching, and strengthening to potentially find some low-cost relief at home. Strengthening and stretching the gluteus minimus beyond pain relief can also help improve hip stability and flexibility, and reduce the risk of injury.

As always, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider or trained fitness professional before starting any new exercise program. They can help you determine the best exercises and stretches for your individual needs and fitness level.

I hope this article has provided you with helpful information on the gluteus minimus muscle. If you have any additional questions or concerns, leave a comment or reach out to us at!


QL Claw (Trigger Point/Massage): The ultimate deep tissue massage tool for targeting the specific muscles that develop tension and contribute to lower back pain. I made this myself after 4 years of brutal back pain and tension, and it was my first key to unlocking the complete pain-free back I carry today.



[1] Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.

[2] Davies, Clair, and Amber Davies. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. 3rd ed., New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2013.

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