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Side Leg Raises For Great Glutes

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Side Leg Raises For Great Glutes

The social media explosion in the last ten years has introduced a trend for curvy and fit bodies into popularity, with special thanks to the Kardashians. Some people aren't naturally blessed with an ample backside but luckily your gluteus muscles can be trained to build yourself a bigger, stronger butt.

Esthetics aside, the glute and hip muscles are an important part of body function - these muscles help us to stand, sit, walk/run, hold good posture, and stabilize our core.

Whether you are trying to look better or perform better you should incorporate legs lifts into your routine for stronger glutes and hips.

What are side leg raises?

Side leg raises are an exercise in which you engage your hip abductor muscles to lift your leg out to the side and away from the midline of your body. They're simple and effective to strengthen your core, glutes, and hips.

They can be done from a number of positions to target the muscle group from a different angle, and can be performed using bodyweight or with the additional challenge of a resistance band.

What are side leg raises good for?

Side leg raises are a fantastic exercise to target the oft-overlooked glute muscles. It can be difficult to target them directly, as most lower body exercises like squats and lunges use the quadricep muscles more than the glutes.

There are several side leg raises benefits:

  • Builds core strength. The side leg lift exercise builds strength in your hips, glutes, and abs, all of which help you to build a strong core that can support your body through any movement.
  • Builds back strength. This helps to improve and maintain a good posture to prevent back injury and pain.
  • Improve range of motion in hips. Building flexibility through range of motion helps to prevent hip and knee injury.
  • Improve muscle endurance. Strengthening these abductor muscles will help you to improve your speed and performance in any activities that use these muscles, like running.
  • Strengthens the femoral neck. By strengthening this part of the thigh bone, you can decrease the risk of hip fractures as you age.
  • Strengthening the glutes. These muscles stabilize your hips and are some of the strongest muscles in your body.
  • Reduces pressure on your joints. Strengthening the surrounding muscles helps to relieve pressure off of your knee, hip, and ankle joints.

Do side leg raises make your hips bigger?

Just like any other strength training, you cannot use leg raises to spot reduce fat in your hip area. The only way to decrease fat overall is through a combination of a reduced-calorie diet and exercise routine.

Side leg raises can strengthen and build your hip muscles, which can lead to them getting bigger and more toned. You can build a more shapely hip area through regular strength training of the associated muscles in the glutes and hip flexors.

How to Perform Side Leg Raises

There are four major variations of the side leg raise: standing, seated, kneeling, and lying down.

Incorporate one or more of these exercises into your lower body routine 2-3 times a week for the best results.

Perform the lifts on each side for 30 seconds each. Repeat the exercises 3 times in each session.

#1 Standing Leg Lifts

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Place both hands on your hips.
  2. Lift your right leg slightly off of the ground. Square your hips and shoulders forward.
  3. Lift your right leg straight out to the side, up to 45° from the hip.
  4. Return to starting position.
  5. When you have completed your reps, repeat on the other side.

#2 Seated Leg Lifts

  1. Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair. Maintain a tall posture to protect your lower back.
  2. Straighten your left straight out in front of you. Keep your right leg bent and foot on the floor.
  3. Lift your left leg up to 90°.
  4. Return to the starting position.
  5. When you have completed your reps, repeat on the other side.

    #3 Kneeling Leg Lifts

    1. Kneel down on a yoga mat. Lean to the right side and put your right hand down. Place your left hand on your left hip.
    2. Straighten your left leg out directly to your side. Keep your hips in line with each other.
    3. Lift your left leg straight up, slightly past 90°.
    4. Return the leg to the starting position.
    5. When you have completed your reps, repeat on the other side.

    #4 Side Lying Leg Lifts

    1. Lie down on your right side on a yoga mat. Place your right arm under your head for support, and place your left hand on your top (left) hip.
    2. Ensure your legs are in line with your body and hips are stacked on top of each other - don't let them roll forward or back.
    3. Lift your top leg straight up from your body until it makes a 45° angle. Don't press past this point, as then you will be working different muscle groups instead.
    4. Return to the starting position.
    5. Once finished, repeat this exercise on your other side.

    Lying Left Lifts With Resistance Band

    1. Repeat the same exercise above, but with a resistance band around both of your lower thighs.

    Resistance Bands for an Added Challenge

    All of these exercises can be done with or without a resistance band. We suggest trying them out first and mastering form without a band, and then introducing the resistance band to build even more strength with some band exercises.

    Perform these exercises regularly to reap all of the leg lift benefits of increasing your hip abductor strength!

    Katherine Holden

    Katherine Holden

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