Training the glutes isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Your glute program should be set up based on your goals, which means squats and deadlifts may not be your best options. Depending on what you want to achieve, there are a multitude of effective glute exercises that can help you build strength, size, and power.
Determining which ones you’ll need to perform is the challenge. Whether you’re targeting the gluteus maximus, minimus or medius, here are some of the most effective exercises for each.
1. Glute Bridge/Hip Thrust
This is arguably one of the best exercises for training the glutes. It targets all three gluteal muscles: maximus, minimus and medius. You may perform the movement using just your body weight or a weighted barbell or dumbbell can be used to increase the difficulty. Here’s how to perform it:
- Start by lying on your back, hands at your sides, palms down, with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Keeping the spine neutral, lift your hips off the floor while squeezing your glutes.
- At the top of the movement, your glutes should be fully contracted and your body should form a diagonal line from knees to chest. Hold the contracted position for one to two seconds.
- Reverse Hyper
- To finish the movement, slowly descend, making sure to keep the back straight by tucking the pelvis. You should not have an arch in your lower back as you descend. Continue lowering the hips until your back is flat on the floor. Repeat!
To use the most muscle fibers, full hip extension is necessary. This glute exercise is great because it allows you to do just that. At the top of the movement, the hips are fully extended and the glutes should be fully flexed. Add in some time under tension and you have a recipe for a good glute burn!
- Start by lying face down on an exercise bench. Place your hips on the edge of the bench that is closest to your feet and grasp beneath the bench with your hands.
- Extend your legs behind you and place your toes on the floor, legs straight.
- Bring your feet together, keep your legs straight and raise your heels toward the ceiling while squeezing your glutes.
Gluteus Minimus and Medius
- Continue lifting your legs until they are parallel to the ground and slowly lower your feel back to the floor, keeping your legs straight. Repeat!
This is great exercise for the gluteus medius since it requires hip abduction. You can perform this movement with or without equipment. If you would like to add some extra resistance to the exercise, consider placing an exercise band around your knees.
- Start by lying on your side, feet together and knees bent. Prop your upper body up on your forearm and place your opposite hand palm down on the floor in front of you.
- Keeping the feet together, lift your top knee up as high as you can without rocking backward. Squeeze the glute as you lift, and don’t worry about range of motion as much as glute activation. If you lift your knee too high, you’ll end up rocking backward.
- Hold your knee at the top position for one to two seconds and lower it slowly.
- Fire Hydrant
- Start by placing your hands and knees on the floor with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Raise your right leg out to the side, keeping your knee bent and in line with your ankle. Your shin should stay parallel to the ground throughout the movement.
- Squeeze the glute at the top of the movement and hold for one to two seconds.
- Complete all repetitions for one side and switch to the opposite side.
- Band Walks
- Slowly lower the leg back down and complete all repetitions for the right side before progressing to the left.
- Start by placing a band around both of your ankles.
- Spread your feet to shoulder width to create tension in the band.
- Step laterally with your leading foot and then step in the same direction with your following foot. There should always be tension in the band during this exercise.
- Continue stepping in the same direction until all reps are completed for one side. Then, begin stepping in the opposite direction to target your other side.
While there are dozens of great glute exercises to choose from if you’re looking to build up your backside, these ones are sure to make you feel the burn. Try combining a variety of movements to target all three glute muscles and you’ll be surprised at the amount of strength, power and size you can develop!
If you’re looking to burn your glutes, try a free workout at PumpFit Club! We include a mix of high-intensity glute workouts into our challenging full-body workouts to help you build the body you’ve always wanted. Click here for a free three-day pass or contact us online.