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7 Essential Exercises That Target Your Glutes

Your gluteal muscles are one of the most under-developed, largely thanks to the amount of time the average person spends sitting down. While seated, the back of your chair supports your upper body, so there's no need for the posterior chain muscles (including your glutes and lower back) to engage. This can weaken the muscles, in turn leading to stiffness and inflexibility.

Time to kick things up a notch and work those glutes! Try these amazing glute-focused exercises to strengthen and enhance flexibility.

Step Up

Stepping up onto an elevated platform will force your glute muscles to engage as you push off your back leg, as well as when you lower yourself from the platform. You can do this weighted or weights-free — either way, it hits your glutes along with your quads and hamstrings.

Hip Thrust

This movement targets both your glutes and your hip muscles, the two opposing muscle groups that push and pull your pelvis. It requires no weight but can be done using just your bodyweight. It will improve glute and hip strength, as well as improve your range of motion and flexibility.

Glute Bridge

This one places all the emphasis on your glutes and lower back, recruiting the posterior chain muscles. You can perform this movement weighted (with a kettlebell or weight disc) or just use your bodyweight. To maximize the intensity, try a static glute bridge hold for a more effective isometric workout.

Donkey Kicks

This movement — whether done from a kneeling position or using the ankle cable straps — is all glutes. Your glute muscles are engaged to extend your leg out behind you, and you'll feel the burn in your butt after just a few reps.

Squat with Kickback

Squats engage your quads, but there is some glute engagement as well. However, adding in the kickback doubles down on the movement's effectiveness. When you straighten up from the squat, kick one leg out behind you, alternating legs with every squat. You'll feel the burn in your glutes in no time.

Lunge Variations

Lunges hit your hamstrings and glutes more effectively than Squats, but there are a few variations on Lunges that really focus on turning your buns into steel. Skater Lunges, Reverse Lunges, Lateral Lunges, Jump Lunges, and Bulgarian Split Squats are all highly effective for shredding those glutes.

Stiff-Legged Deadlifts

Regular Deadlifts focus on the lower back, but keeping those legs stiff and knees locked when you lower/lift the weight shifts the focus down to your hamstrings and glutes. To really kick things up a notch, try a single-legged deadlift. Your glutes will work extra hard to keep you balanced and stable while lifting your rear leg out behind you.

These movements can help to place extra emphasis on your important gluteal muscles. You'll find that better glute strength will lead to improved posture and reduced strain on your lower back.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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