Fire Hydrants Exercise: Best Techniques and Variations

Fire hydrants have become an increasingly popular exercise for strengthening the glutes. Studies show strong gluteal muscles reduce lower back pain whilst improving pelvic and hip stability. Whether you are looking to reduce back pain, enhance your posture, or gain a more toned and lifted buttock area, this article explores modifications and variations of the exercise, so you can get started today.

Key takeaways:

Are fire hydrants effective?

The glutes are the largest muscle group in the human body. They are responsible for movements such as hip extension, abduction, and rotation. These motions are crucial for everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, or running.

Fire hydrants engage all three muscle groups within the glutes through abduction (the leg moving away from the body). This motion activates, strengthens, and improves muscle tone within the glutes whilst stabilizing the hips and pelvis — helping build and maintain overall strength and preventing injury.

Benefits of fire hydrants

Benefits of fire hydrant exercises include:

  • Muscle strengthening. Increased muscle mass and lower body strength.
  • Postural support. Strong glutes act as a solid support base for your whole body.
  • Improved range in hips. Fire hydrants activate the hip rotators — improving stability and control.
  • Mind-muscle connection. Increasing body awareness for better control and technique.
  • Injury prevention. Increased strength, balance, control, and range create a harmonious environment within the body.

Different variations of fire hydrant exercise

Here are four of our favotrite fire hydrant exercises that you can try at home today:

1. Standing fire hydrant

Woman doing Standing fire hydrant exercise
  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, arms relaxed by your sides.
  2. Exhale and draw your naval towards your spine, activating the abdominal muscles for control. Hinge slightly forwards at the hips so your chest slightly lowers towards the ground.
  3. Shift your weight onto your right leg whilst keeping the knee slightly bent.
  4. Slowly lift your left leg out to the side, moving away from your body at a forty five degree angle slightly behind you.
  5. If you have more range in the hips, bring the left leg to a ninety degree angle, with your knee in line with your hip for extra glute activation.
  6. Elevate your left leg to a height that feels comfortable for you, reaching a position where it is parallel to the ground or slightly lower. Hold for a moment.
  7. Slowly lower your leg back down to the starting position, maintaining control and balance.
  8. Repeat for eight repetitions. Then switch to the other side.
Extra tip
Add a resistance band for an extra challenge. Place your small looped band above your knees and repeat the instructions above.

2. Modified standing version with chair

Woman doing Modified standing version with chair exercise

Take our modified version if you need extra support and balance.

  1. Place a chair in front of you ensuring it's in a secure position.
  2. Face towards the chair placing your hands shoulder width apart on the backrest of the seat.
  3. Repeat the instructions above for the standing fire hydrant, keeping hold of the chair for additional support.

3. All fours fire hydrant

Woman doing All fours fire hydrant exercise
  1. Start on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders and knees under hips.
  2. Engage your abdominal muscles by drawing your naval towards the spine, keeping the back relatively flat.
  3. Exhale and lift your right leg out to the side in a ninety degree angle with your knee in line with your hip and thigh parallel to the floor. Keep your foot flexed. Hold for a moment.
  4. Inhale and slowly lower the leg back down to the mat, maintaining the ninety degree angle and keeping the knee slightly hovered above the mat.
  5. Repeat for eight repetitions on each side. Remember to keep your weight centered, avoiding shifting all of your weight to your stabilizing side — instead activate your abdominals for overall stability and control.
Extra tip
Add a resistance band for a more challenging variation. Place the band above your knees, repeating the instructions above.

4. Advanced: straight leg fire hydrant

Woman doing straight leg fire hydrant exercise
  1. Start on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders and knees under hips.
  2. Engage your abdominal muscles by drawing your naval towards the spine, keeping the back relatively flat.
  3. Place your right leg out to the side in line with your hip and inner thigh parallel to the floor.
  4. Exhale and lift your right leg up until the foot roughly lines up with your hip. Hold for a moment.
  5. Inhale and slowly lower the leg back down to the mat, keeping it extended.
  6. Repeat for eight repetitions on each side. Remember to keep your weight centered.
Extra Tip
Add 1-2 kg ankle weights for extra resistance.

The wrap up

Overall fire hydrants are an excellent exercise for building up glute strength. The many different variations ranging from beginner to advanced make them an inclusive and accessible exercise for many people.

Building glute strength is not only important for posture and injury prevention — we also need strong glutes for regular daily activity such as walking or climbing the stairs.

Remember, consistency is key and don’t expect to see results after one session. Instead, include fire hydrants as a part of your regular movement practice and over time you can reap the benefits. Remember to always listen to your body and take the modifications when needed.



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