13 Different Glute Exercises For All Levels
The following glute exercises are good for all levels of exercise experience. Something to note is that these are simply just baseline demo exercises. You can change them up as often as you need, whether it’s hold each rep for a certain amount of seconds, using ankle weights as opposed to resistance bands, etc.
Some of my clients that do these exercises do not feel any glute activation. When this happens I will have them first focus on activating the glutes then hold the contracted position until they start to feel the glute activate.
These are good exercises to do prior to doing lunges, deadlifts or squats to ensure the glutes are ready for some action
The most important thing, as always, is before you start, be sure to foam roll and release your glutes!
Prone Banded leg lifts
Lay face down as shown with a band around your ankles. Use your glute to initiate the movement while keeping your leg straight. If you bend your knee you’ll likely feel this exercise more in your hamstring and calf which is not what we’re trying to target. Notice I am not herking and jerking at the torso. Keep your core engaged and hips on the surface.
Target muscle: Gluteus Maximus
Banded Side Leg Raise
These ones can be tricky for those of you with relatively weak gluteus medius muscles. Prior to this exercise I would make sure you release your quadratus lumborum (QL). If your QL is too tight, you may end up feeling this exercise in your lower back instead of your gluteus medius.
To place more emphasis on your glute medius, bring your leg towards your back (still keep it straight) then perform the movement.
Target muscles: glute medius, glute minimus
Bosu Ball Hip Raise
As you perform this exercise think about driving your heels through the ball as you press up. You want the force be coming from the back of your legs up through your glutes and back. Get a good squeeze at the top of this exercise. Feel your glutes contract.
Target Muscles: Glutes maximus, hamstrings, lumbar erectors
Place the resistance band just below or just above the knees. Focus on initiating the movement with your glutes.
Target muscles: Glute Medius, Glute Minimus
Some of my clients have found this version of the clam to be more effective than the side clams. The target muscles are still the same
Target muscles: Glute medius, glute minimus
Dumbbell Leg Lifts
For this exercise I included pulse reps as well as full range reps. The key pointer for this exercise is to keep your spine neutral! Do not let your back sag or arch.
Target muscles: Glutes, hamstrings, lumbar erectors
Banded Up and Overs
Keep your leg straight, initiate movement with your glute and keep your spine neutral! Lift the leg up and over the opposite leg.
Target Muscle: Glutes: Max, Medius, Minimus.
Same points as the Bosu Ball hip raise. Drive through your heels as you press up.
Target muscles: Glutes, hamstrings, lumbar erectors.
Single Leg Hip Raise on Bosu Ball
Using one leg, drive through the heel when pressing up. Simply just hold the other leg up throughout duration of the exercise
Target muscle: Glutes, hamstring, lumbar erectors
With this exercise it’d be better if I was able to raise my hips to a more level position rather than slightly elevated. This exercise will be similar to the hip raise however you can add weight, whether it be a kettle bar, barbell, resistance band or dumbbell. Focus on thrusting your hips up and pressing up through your heels in the process.
Make sure you control the movement and try to just throw your hips up and down rapidly.
Target muscles: glutes, hamstrings, lumbar erectors
Single Leg Hip Thrust
I was struggling with this one, you can see it in my face. This will challenge your balance so make sure you don’t go too heavy if you do have weight. Same technique as the Hip thrust, focus on glute contraction.
Target Muscles: Glutes, hamstrings, lumbar erectors
Standing Banded Angle Kickbacks
Stand nice and tall, initiate movement with your glute. Keep the leg straight and do not lean forward. Kick straight back to target the glute maximus and kick back at an angle to target more glute medius and minimus.
Target Muscles: Glute maximus, glute medius, glute minimus
Prone Leg Lifts with Ankle Weights
Similar to the banded leg lifts, keep your leg straight and concentrate on glute contraction. Keep the core engaged as well.
Target Muscles: Glute maximus