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Try these exercises to kick-start your glute training!

Whether you want to focus on your glutes to build a booty, address lower back pain or improve your walking and running efficiency, it’s a good idea to start with the basics. We’ve put together 5 great glute exercises to active the glutes. Once you’re confidently able to activate your glute muscles, you can slowly progress to loaded or more complex movements. These exercises can also be used as a warm to get the glutes firing before exercises like squats and dead lifts.

If you experience pain or discomfort during any of these exercises, discontinue the exercise and get in touch with your local Exercise Physiologist.

glute activation in supine

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, then place your hands on your glutes for tactile feedback of the activation.
  2. Squeeze your backside together, then relax the muscles. Focus on isolating just the muscles of the backside when you squeeze.
  3. Focus on breathing in time with the movement: INHALE to relax, EXHALE gently squeeze backside together, INHALE to relax.
  4. Repeat 8-10 times.

Glute Bridge

  1. Lie on your back in a crook lying position, where you knees are bent and your feet are placed on the floor hip width apart.
  2. Tilt your pelvis as if you’re tucking your tail between your legs, then squeeze your glutes without engaging other muscles.
  3. Intensify the squeeze and drive through your heels to lift your hips off the ground until your hips are in line with your knees and shoulders.
  4. Hold this position, before lowering your hips back to the floor, maintaining control with your glute muscles during the lowering phase.
  5. Start with 1 sec holds at the top for 6-12 repetitions and progress to 30 second holds for 2-4 repetitions

Powerband Variation

You can target the glute-medius more by putting a powerband or theraband around your knees. Engage your glute-medius by pushing your knees outward to stretch the band tight before you lift your hips off the floor. Maintain the same outward pressure as you lift and lower your hips.

80:20 Variation

To progress this exercise or modify it to have a more specific focus on improving walking or running patterns, try an 80:20 glute bridge. Instead of having both your feet the same distance from your body, extend one leg to place the foot further away, but maintain both feet in line with your hips. As you lift your hips, you should aim to load 80% of your bodyweight through the leg with the foot that is closer to you, while the foot that’s further away should have only 20% of your bodyweight. The trick is to really focus on only using your glutes, and not engage your hamstring or lower back.

Single Leg Variation

Once you’ve mastered the 80:20 glute bridge, you might want to progress to a single leg bridge, where 100% of your bodyweight is in one leg. The goal with a single leg glute bridge is not only to use predominantly the glutes instead of the hamstring and lower back, but to keep your hips level as you lift and lower your hips. If you find that your pelvis rocks over to one side, keep practising some of the other variations to build up your glute stability.

Side lying clams

  1. Lie on your side with your head supported and your heels in line with your hips and shoulders.
  2. Draw your top hip down away from your head to create a small gap between your waist and the floor.
  3. Gently draw your hip bones together to engage your core and maintain this position with your pelvis where the top hip is stacked on top of the bottom hip.
  4. Keep your heels pressed together and slowly open the top knee without your top hip rolling backwards.
  5. Control the movement as you bring the knee back down to the starting position.
  6. Focus on the movement coming from gluteus medius (edge of backside) and avoid initiating the movement with the muscles in the front of the hip.
  7. Complete 8-12 repetitions before switching sides. Repeat 2-3 sets on each side.
  8. Try adding a powerband or theraband around your knees to increase the resistance

Top Tip: If you can complete more than 12 reps without even feeling your glut-med, it’s highly likely that you’re not quite doing it right!

 banded crab walks

  1. Sit down to place the circular theraband or powerband around your legs, positioning it just above your knees
  2. Stand up and slightly bend your knees in a 1/4 squat position, keeping your weight towards your heels and your feet slightly turned out.
  3. Using your glutes, maintain outward pressure against the band as you take a small sideways step with one foot. Focus on keeping your torso upright and preventing it from swaying to the side when you step out.
  4. Without letting the tension against the band go, step the other foot across.
  5. Focus on keeping the 1/4 squat position with your weight in your heels. The steps should be small and you should maintain tension on the band throughout the entire movement.
  6. Repeat for 10-20 steps in one direction, then lead with the other foot to complete in the other direction.
  7. Challenge yourself by moving the band down around your ankles and once you’ve mastered that, you can even try with the band around your feet!

isometric glute wall hold

  1. Stand up straight, side-on and close to the wall.
  2. Bend the knee of the leg that is closest to the wall, bringing your foot slightly off the ground and your heel up toward your bottom.
  3. Keeping your thighs parallel, press the outside of your thigh into the wall.
  4. Keep your body upright with your hips, torso and shoulders square, so that you’re not leaning into the wall. Your thighs should stay parallel with one another.
  5. Hold this position, pressing the outside of your thigh into the wall.
  6. Relax, then repeat.
  7. Aim to progress from 3 x 10-15 secs holds on each side up to 3 x 60sec holds on each side.

Top Tip: If you’re planning to run a half-marathon, your goal should be closer to 4 mins on each side!

These exercises are provided as an example of those which might be prescribed in an individualised exercise program by one of Bodytrack’s Exercise Physiologists. To determine which glute exercises are right for you or to get an individualised exercise program, please Contact Us or Book Online.