10 Exercises to Strengthen Glutes

Strong glutes are essential for lower body strength and stability. Whether you're an athlete looking to improve your performance or simply aiming to enhance your daily movements, incorporating exercises to strengthen your glutes is vital. This group of muscles plays an essential role in everyday activities like walking, running, jumping, and even sitting.

Let's explore a variety of practical exercises designed to strengthen the glutes and help achieve a more muscular, well-rounded lower body. Get ready to activate those glutes and unleash their full potential.

What are the glutes?

The glutes, short for gluteal muscles, are a group of muscles that makes up the buttock region. They are among the largest and strongest muscle group in the human body. Beyond their functional importance, glutes also have aesthetic significance for many individuals. The three main muscles make up the glutes — gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus.

Gluteus maximus

The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the gluteal group. It is responsible for hip extension, which involves standing up from a seated position, walking, running, and climbing stairs. It provides power and stability to the hips and is key for activities that require explosive force, such as jumping or sprinting.

Gluteus medius

This muscle is situated on the outer side of the hip and plays a vital role in hip abduction and stabilization. It helps lift the leg out to the side, maintain balance while standing, and control the alignment of the pelvis and hips during movement. The gluteus medius is particularly important in walking, running, cycling, and maintaining proper posture.

Gluteus minimus

The smallest muscle in this group is the gluteus minimus, which lies beneath the gluteus medius. It assists in hip abduction and stabilization. Along with the gluteus medius, it helps control the movement and alignment of the pelvis during activities involving the lower body.

Signs of weak glutes

Weak glutes can significantly impact a person's overall well-being and physical abilities. From a functional standpoint, weak gluteal muscles disrupt the body's natural movement patterns and biomechanics. This increases the risk of injury, as other muscles and joints have to compensate for the lack of strength in the glutes.

Weak glutes manifest through various signs and symptoms. Here are some common indicators of weak gluteal muscles:

  • Pain in the hip, lower back, or knee
  • Poor posture
  • Knee valgus
  • Limited range of motion
  • Lack of power and explosiveness
  • Difficulty with lower body exercises

Weak glutes decrease hip mobility

Weak glutes can reduce hip mobility since these muscles are responsible for hip rotations, extension, and abduction. Weakness in the gluteal muscles causes compensation by surrounding muscles, leading to imbalances and altered movement patterns.

Weak glutes also affect the stability and alignment of the pelvis, which further restricts hip mobility. Strengthening the gluteal muscles through targeted exercises helps address these imbalances, improves hip stability, and enhances overall hip mobility.

10 best workouts for glutes

Here are ten glute exercises to can add to a regular workout routine. The aim is to perform them at least 2–3 times a week. Use proper form and technique while squeezing the glute muscles throughout each movement. Increase intensity and resistance, or repeat sets multiple times as the muscles become stronger.

1. Squats

Woman doing squat exercise

This compound exercise targets the glutes, quads, and hamstrings, making it a powerhouse for lower body strength.

  1. Start with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower the body as if moving to sit in a chair.
  3. Keeping weight on the heels, push through the heels to stand back up.
  4. Repeat for 10–12 repetitions.

2. Hip thrusts

Woman doing hip thrusts

This exercise specifically isolates and activates the glute muscles, promoting glute strength and development.

  1. Sit on the edge of a bench with feet planted firmly on the ground.
  2. Lean back slightly.
  3. Thrust the hips forward until the body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders.
  4. Lower the body back down.
  5. Repeat for 10–20 repetitions.

3. Deadlifts

Woman doing deadlifts

While primarily targeting the hamstrings and lower back, deadlifts also engage the glutes, making them a fantastic exercise for overall lower body strength.

  1. Stand with the feet hip-width apart and a barbell in front of the body.
  2. Bend at the hips and knees, maintain a neutral spine, and grip the barbell.
  3. Push through the heels, extend the hips forward, and stand straight.
  4. Make sure to squeeze the glutes when standing.
  5. Repeat for 10–12 repetitions.

4. Lunges

Woman doing lunges

Walking lunges or stationary lunges are excellent for targeting the glutes, quads, and hamstrings, helping to build strength and stability.

  1. Step forward with one leg.
  2. Bend both knees until the back knee hovers just above the ground.
  3. Push through the front heel to stand back up.
  4. Repeat on the other leg.
  5. Continue alternating legs for 15–20 repetitions.

5. Bulgarian split squats

Woman doing bulgarian split squats

This unilateral exercise focuses on one leg at a time, providing an intense workout for the glutes and improving balance and stability.

  1. Stand with one foot a few feet in front of the other, resting the back foot on a bench or step.
  2. Lower the back knee toward the ground, keeping the front knee in line with the ankle.
  3. Push through the front heel to stand back up.
  4. Repeat on the other leg.
  5. Continue for 10–12 repetitions, alternating legs.

6. Glute bridges

Woman doing glute bridges

This simple and effective exercise targets the glutes and helps activate the posterior chain.

  1. Lie down with feet flat on the floor and knees bent.
  2. Lift the hips up as high as possible while squeezing the glutes.
  3. Hold for a two-count and lower back down.
  4. Repeat for 12–15 repetitions.

7. Step-ups

Woman doing step-ups

This exercise engages the glutes and leg muscles, promoting strength and stability.

  1. Find a sturdy step or bench.
  2. Step one foot onto the step and push through that leg to bring the other foot up onto the step.
  3. Step back down and repeat on the other side.
  4. Continue alternating legs for 10–12 repetitions.

8. Fire hydrants

Woman doing fire hydrant

Fire hydrants target the gluteus medius and maximus muscles for improved hip stability and strength.

  1. Start on all fours with the knees hip-width apart.
  2. Lift one knee to the side, keeping it bent until the thigh is parallel to the ground.
  3. Lower back down and repeat on the other leg.
  4. Alternate legs for 10–15 repetitions.

9. Glute kickbacks

Woman doing glute kickbacks

Kickbacks activate the gluteus maximus to improve strength and stability, ultimately enhancing the shape and firmness of the glute muscles.

  1. Start on all fours with knees hip-width apart.
  2. Lift one leg back and up, bending at the hip until the bottom of the foot faces the ceiling.
  3. Lower back down and repeat on the other leg.
  4. Repeat on one side for 10–15 repetitions before switching to the other.

10. Standing good mornings

Woman doing standing good mornings

This advanced exercise primarily targets the hamstrings but also engages the glutes, helping to improve strength and stability in the lower body.

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keep the back straight and hinge at the hips.
  3. Lower the upper body until it's parallel to the floor.
  4. Engage the glutes and hamstrings to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 12–15 repetitions.

How often should you train the glutes?

The frequency of glute training is controversial among fitness lovers. Some argue that the glute muscles are large and resilient, allowing for frequent training sessions up to six times a week. These individuals believe adding glute exercises multiple times weekly can maximize growth and strength. According to bodybuilders, only once a week of training is necessary to maintain firm glutes.

However, most fitness professionals recommend 2–3 times a week to allow the glutes time to recover and adapt. However, allow at least 48 hours of rest between glute-focused workouts to prevent overtraining and ensure proper muscle repair.

Ultimately, listening to your body and monitoring your progress is essential. Strong glutes contribute to a well-rounded physique and play a vital role in overall lower body strength, stability, and injury prevention. With consistent effort and the right training tools, you can unlock the full potential of your glutes and enjoy the rewards of a powerfully strong lower body.

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