Exercises You Should Be Doing: Modified Side Lying Hip Abduction with Leg Slide

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When most people – at least within fitness circles – think of “glutes,” they envision bikini models/figure competitors up on stage or people with 400+ lb hip thrust with the ability to crack a walnut/crush a Volvo between their cheeks, in what’s known as the 21st century’s version of “coolest bar trick ever.”

And well, I can’t disagree with either of those examples.

I mean…..GLUTES!

A more poignant and mature fitness professional, however, will note that, the glutes – or gluteal complex (glute maximus, medius, and minimus) – are a major player in a multitude of strength & conditioning (in addition to general health & well-being) facets.

Having strong glutes allows athletes to lift more weight, jump higher, and run faster. While not always the case and a true indicator of athletic prowess, using the eyeball test and comparing athlete A (who has a big ass) and athlete B (who looks as if (s)he has a 2×4 stuck to their rear-end), I’m going to put my money on athlete A.

The glutes also serve a major role in helping to “bullet proof” the body. Athlete or not, many people complain of chronic lower back pain due to “glute amnesia.”

Get those bad-boys strong(er) and firing more efficiently, reduce the likelihood of faulty compensations, and good things tend to always happen.

Exhibit A: Kellie Davis, co-author of Strong Curves, rocking some solid hip thrusts.

Exhibit B: this sexy firefighter rescuing a helpless kitten from a tree.

That said, we can’t always “muscle” our way to strong, efficient glutes. Sometimes we need to implement lower-level, “corrective” type movements in order to appropriately “access” them.

Note to Self: lets tone it down on the quotations marks, mmm-kay.

Modified Side-Lying Hip Abduction With Leg Slide


Who Did I Steal it From?: Chicago based chiropractic physician and strength coach, Dr. Evan Osar.

What Does it Do?: The objective here is to not to say we’re strengthening the glute medius. We’re not, really.

Most people don’t have a weak glute medius. And frankly, doing an endless array of hip abduction or side lying clam variations isn’t going to be the answer. Sure, some people may need to regress things to include a healthy dose of motor control exercises, but at the end of the day, if you want to “strengthen” a muscle, you need to, you know, do traditional strength-building exercises.

That being said, the intent here is to help people access their glute medius as part of the gluteal complex, to increase the brain’s and nervous system’s awareness of that muscle, and to recruit it once we get people into the upright/standing position and lifting heavy things.

Key Coaching Cues: 

We get hip extension, abduction, and lengthening of the anterior hip complex.

  • Entire backside is flush against the wall.
  • Shoulders/hips are stacked on top of one another.
  • Elbow at 90 degrees, knees at 45 degrees. Also, it’s a good idea to place a yoga block or towel between knees to encourage a more neutral pelvic position.
  • Start by pushing the bottom knee gently into the floor.
  • Elevate top foot and then push your heel into the wall, engaging glute max.
  • Slowly straighten leg until fully extended, making sure to keep heel in contact with wall the entire time. Toes will point forward/come off wall when leg is straight.
  • Return back to starting position, and repeat 6-8 repetitions/side for 2-3 sets.
  • THAT’S what it feels like to turn your entire gluteal complex on.
  • Now go train.

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Comments for This Entry

  • Trevor @ ARC Fitness

    Thanks for the awesome post! I just recently started reading your articles and particularly enjoy your articles like this that focus on specific movement patterns. Now I do have a question though, because of the relative ease of the movement would you consider doing this as a pre or post exercise to do on a glute training day? Or would this be appropriate to use each day as a "corrective method"? Or does it even matter, just do it kinda thing??

    March 11, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      Remember the objective here: it's to better integrate the entire gluteal complex and to get the nervous system more primed before we stand up and start doing stuff. Whether you deem it a "corrective" exercise or not is moot. I CAN be, I guess. But I have people who move well do this drill too. I consider it more of a "do it every day" kind of thing as we use our glutes for everything and not just for "glute training day."

      March 14, 2016 at 9:22 am | Reply to this comment

  • Lass Lassiter

    The video was good, but 3rd Bass' s 'Pop goes the weasel', playing in the background was AWESOME!!!

    March 13, 2016 at 9:30 am | Reply to this comment

  • Shane Mclean

    Just so you know Tony, that doesn't look weird at all, just saying. Dr Osar is one smart cookie and have been reading his stuff recently over otpbooks.com. I'll give it a shot.

    March 13, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Matt Makinson

    Wow that was very difficult for me...what does it mean if that exercise made my hip flexor on both the down leg and the up leg cramp up....????

    March 13, 2016 at 8:37 pm | Reply to this comment

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