15 Glute Exercises For Building A Well-Rounded Lower Body
Author: Greta Beck
Want to build your glutes but not sure what exercises to do? I'm going to show you some of my favorite glute building exercises that will help you target all the different muscles in your glutes!
When it comes to building a strong and well-rounded lower body, it's hard to ignore the importance of the glute muscles. The glutes consist of three main parts: the upper muscle of the gluteus maximus, the lower muscle of the gluteus maximus, and the gluteus medius. Each part plays a crucial role in hip extension, stabilization, and overall lower body strength. In this blog post, we'll dive into targeted exercises that focus on each area of the glutes, so that you can ensure you're hitting all the different muscles in your workouts!
Upper Division Of Gluteus Maximus (Horizontal Movements):
The upper gluteus maximus is engaged during horizontal movements, which primarily involve hip extension. Here are some exercises that specifically target this part of the glutes:
Begin by sitting on the ground with your back against a bench, positioning a barbell across your lap. Plant your feet firmly on the floor, hip-width apart. Drive through your heels, lifting your hips off the ground until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement, then slowly lower back down to complete one repetition. You can learn more about the benefits of hip thrusts here.
Stand facing a cable machine with the cable attachment set to ankle height. Attach the ankle strap to your ankle and step back, creating tension in the cable. Keep your upper body stable and your core engaged. Initiate the movement by kicking your leg backward, squeezing your glutes at the end of the movement. Return your leg to the starting position in a controlled manner. Repeat with the other leg.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Place your arms by your sides for stability. Press through your heels, engaging your glutes and hamstrings to lift your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold for a brief pause at the top, then lower your hips back down slowly to the starting position. You can even vary it with frog stance glute bridges(pictured).
Lie facedown on a hyperextension bench with your hips aligned at the edge and your legs extended straight behind you. Hold onto the handles or secure your feet under the foot pads. Engage your glutes and lower back muscles to lift your legs until they are parallel to the floor or slightly higher. Pause briefly at the top, then lower your legs back down to complete one repetition.
A donkey kick is a glute exercise that involves getting on all fours with your hands and knees on the ground. From this position, you lift one leg up and back, keeping it bent at a 90-degree angle, until your foot is pointing toward the ceiling. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement, then lower your leg back down and repeat on the other side.
Lower Division of Gluteus Maximus (Vertical Movements):
The lower gluteus maximus is primarily engaged during vertical movements, which involve hip hyperextension. These exercises target the lower fibers of the gluteus maximus:
Begin by standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward. Lower your body by bending your knees and pushing your hips back, keeping your chest lifted and core engaged. Descend until your thighs are parallel to the floor or lower, then push through your heels to return to the starting position.
Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs)
Hold a barbell with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart, and stand with feet hip-width apart. Keeping your back straight, hinge at the hips, allowing the barbell to slide down the front of your legs. Lower the barbell until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, then reverse the movement by driving your hips forward, squeezing your glutes, and returning to the starting position.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes under the barbell. Bend your knees and hinge forward at the hips, grasping the bar with an overhand or mixed grip. Keeping your back flat, core engaged, and heels grounded, stand up by driving through your legs and hips, pulling the barbell up along your legs. Once standing upright, reverse the movement, lowering the barbell back down to the floor while maintaining proper form.
Stand facing a sturdy box or bench. Step one foot onto the box, pushing through your heel and engaging your glute as you lift your body up. Bring the other foot up to meet the first foot on top of the box, then step back down with the opposite foot first, followed by the other foot. Repeat the movement, alternating the leading foot.
Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Step back with one foot and lower your body by bending both knees, aiming for a 90-degree angle with your front and back knee. Ensure that your front knee stays aligned with your ankle and your back knee hovers slightly above the ground. Push through the heel of your front foot to return to the starting position, then repeat the movement on the other leg.
Gluteus Medius (Lateral Movements):
The gluteus medius, located on the side of the hips, is responsible for stabilizing the pelvis and controlling hip movement. Lateral movements engage this muscle effectively
Begin by lying on your side with your knees bent and stacked on top of each other. Keeping your feet together, lift your top knee as far as you comfortably can while maintaining tension in the glute muscles. Hold for a moment at the top, then lower your knee back down in a controlled manner. Repeat on the other side.
Seated Hip Abductions
Sit on a chair or bench with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Place a resistance band just above your knees. Keeping your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, push against the resistance of the band and push your knees outward, engaging your outer hip muscles. Hold for a brief moment, then return to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Moves with Booty Bands
Use a resistance band specifically designed for targeting the glutes. Place the band around your thighs or just above your knees, depending on the exercise. Engage your core and maintain good posture throughout the movements. Examples of exercises include lateral walks, squats with band resistance, and glute bridges with the band around your thighs to increase activation.
Side Lying Hip Raises
Lie on your side with your legs extended straight. Rest your lower arm on the floor for support and place your upper hand on your hip. Lift your top leg upward while keeping it straight, engaging the side of your hip. Hold briefly at the top, then lower your leg back down to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Side Lying Leg Raises
Lie on your side with your legs extended straight and stacked on top of each other. Support your head with your lower arm and place your upper hand on the floor for balance. Lift your top leg upward, leading with your heel, while keeping it straight and engaging your outer hip muscles. Pause briefly at the top, then slowly lower your leg back down. Repeat on the other side.
To build strong and well-developed glutes, it's essential to target each part of the glute muscles. By incorporating exercises that focus on the upper gluteus maximus through horizontal movements, the lower gluteus maximus through vertical movements, and the gluteus medius through lateral movements, you can ensure a comprehensive glute workout. Remember to always maintain proper form, gradually increase resistance, and listen to your body to achieve optimal results. So, get ready to strengthen and sculpt your glutes from every angle!
If you want to take the stress out of coming up with your own workouts and wondering if you are doing the right exercises to get results, then check out our new BOOTY program! It's a 30 day glute focused workout program that requires minimal equipment! Let us worry about the workouts and you worry about enjoying the journey!
Looking to get the most out your workouts? Then you'll love the Bellabooty Belt!
The Bellabooty Belt was created for two main reasons, to make hip thrusts more comfortable and more accessible. The Belt allows you to ditch the pain from the barbell and use whatever weight you have access too, meaning you can use dumbbells, kettlebells, and even plates!
Check out the photos to learn more about the Belt! It also includes a complete movement guide that shows 20+ movement variations that can be done with the Belt and it includes 3 free workouts to get you started!
Meet Your Trainer
As one of the Co-Founders of Bellabooty, Greta brings years of personal training and group fitness experience and as a certified pregnancy and postpartum fitness expert, Greta helps women in all stages of their lives find their way back to exercise, in a safe way. In addition to having years of experience as a personal trainer, she has also taught and designed hundreds of group fitness classes built around her two main training philosophy pillars - strength and mobility.
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