Last week I introduced you to the seated band abduction. This week, we’ll be developing these same muscles even further. That’s right, the Best Butt Exercise this week is the standing hip abduction!

You can do this exercise with either bodyweight (no equipment), a resistance band, or using a cable resistance machine.

Exercise: Standing Hip Abductors
Muscles worked: Upper glutes, outer thigh
Jolie Recommends: 3 sets of 15 reps (per side)
Difficulty rating: 2
Effectiveness rating: 4

Best Butt Exercise #38: Standing Hip Abductors

This exercise is often prescribed as a hip or leg exercise, but in reality it does work hard into the upper glutes and the sides of your butt. ‘Abduction’ is a lateral or sideways movement away from the body, and the muscles responsible for this in your hip area are the Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus, which is what we’ll be targeting today.

If you’re using some resistance with this exercise, you’ll find that it works both sides of your butt at the same time – surprisingly, your standing leg also does a fair amount of work and you’ll feel this as a nice burn in your glutes.

How to Do the Move

Here is how to do a standing hip abduction with a cable resistance machine, though you can also do a bodyweight (no equipment required) variation, or use a resistance band (attached to a suitable anchor point and your leg) if you are working out at home.

  1. Place a resistance band or ankle cuff around your ankle on your working leg and attach to the cable resistance machine. (Or, skip this step for the bodyweight version)
  2. Start in a standing position with both feet together, back and spine in a neutral position and core tight. You may choose to hold on to a nearby wall or machine for balance support.
  3. Lift your toes slightly upwards. Moving only your working leg, swing your foot out sideways like a pendulum, hinging at the hip. Lift your foot to about 45 degrees or wherever is comfortable.
  4. Slowly lower back to the starting position, keeping tension on the band or cable (if applicable). This is one rep.
  5. Complete the desired number of reps, then switch sides and repeat for the other leg.

Perfecting Your Form

  • Maintaining a mental focus on contracting the glutes (visualizing them working) will increase glute activation.
  • If using resistance, try to keep this active at all times, even in the starting position.
  • Keep the core muscles tight and hips in the same position throughout the exercise – only your working leg should move.
  • As usual, slow and controlled movements are best! Use a low weight – you don’t need much with this one.

Reppin’ It

Using a lower weight and more reps for this exercise is recommended – most of the benefit comes from training the stabilizing muscles which respond well to sustained tension. This means doing this exercise with slow and controlled movements and constant tension will benefit your booty the most!

Try aiming for 3 sets of 15 reps per side. If you’re new to this exercise, it’s worth mastering the bodyweight version before moving on to something with resistance by using either a resistance band or a cable machine.

Best Butt Exercises: Standing Hip Abductors
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