Glutes are the strongest and longest muscle group in your body. Training them not only helps you tone, shape, and lift your butt, but also helps the overall functionality of your body. When you don't work your glutes enough, in fact, it can impact the effectiveness of your other workouts and adversely impact your posture (since your other muscles have to pick up the slack).
While there are endless amounts of exercises to activate your glutes, you don’t have to do all of them to achieve results. ISOPURE athlete Ashley Joi has created a set of the eight best glute exercises. Joi recommends executing 10-12 reps of each exercise, “or each leg or arm if the exercise uses one arm or leg at a time,” she says. Repeat each exercise two to five times depending on your fitness level, the amount of time you have, and how badly you want to tone those glutes. And if you don’t have weights, don't sweat it. “Weights can be substituted for household items or a kettlebell,” she explains. You can even do the moves without any weight at all. Also, make sure to rest for about 20 to 35 seconds between each exercise, and one to one-and-a-half minutes between sets.
Meet the Expert
- Ashley Joi is an ISOPURE athlete and former Division I track athlete.
Bridge Hold March
- Lay flat on your back, feet hip-width apart and flat on the ground with bent knees.
- Drive your feet into the ground (activating glutes and hamstrings) and push your hips up, keeping your knees and hips aligned and your core tight.
- Holding your bridge, drive one knee back while keeping feet flexed (dorsiflex), and alternate the knee drive. “Remember, hips stay up the entire time,” Joi notes.
- Start with your feet hip-width apart and bring one foot straight back, about 3-4 inches from the back heel of the other foot.
- Slightly bend both knees, keeping weight in front of your legs and pushing your hips back. Keep your spine neutral with your gaze on the floor about 6-10 inches in front of you.
- Bring weights (dumbbells) mid-shin and begin to stand tall by driving your hips forward, pushing the front foot into the ground while the back foot is there for support, with only the ball of your foot on the ground and your heel elevated.
- Start by standing with your feet together.
- Push your legs out to a wide squat and sit back.
- Touch the ground and jump back to feet together, and repeat. “You can take out the jump for a lower impact exercise,” Joi suggests.
Jump Squat Plus Pulses
- With your feet hip-width apart, sit back into a squat and pulse two times.
- Push the ground away from under you and jump high.
- Land softly sitting back into a squat, then pulse two times.
- Take your jump out and stand tall and onto your toes.
Straight Leg Glute Sweeps
- Get down to the floor in a tabletop position with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips, making sure your back is flat and your spine is in a neutral position with your gaze between your hands.
- Extend one leg out to the side of your body with a pointed toe.
- Reach out, tap your toe, and swing your leg back and up, ending with a glute squeeze at the top of the move.
- Repeat on one side until the desired number of reps, then switch.
Iso Hold Lateral Traveling Lunge
- Stand tall with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Shift your weight to one side and push your hips back into a side/lateral lunge.
- Hold your side lunge and switch from right to left, keeping hips low. “No standing,” says Joi.
Plyo Split Lunges
- Start in a wide lunge stance and jump, switching your lunge position mid-air.
- Land softly on your feet and use your arms for momentum.
If you are unable to safely do plyo split lunges, try alternating lunges instead.
Weighted Hip Thrusts
- Lay flat on your back with your feet hip-width apart flat on the ground, with your knees bent.
- Place weight across your hips, or a dumbbell over each hip bone.
- Drive your feet into the ground, activating glutes and hamstrings, and push your hips up while keeping your knees and hips aligned. “Keep your core tight,” says Joi.
ASSESSING AND TREATING GLUTEUS MAXIMUS WEAKNESS - A CLINICAL COMMENTARY. International journal of sports physical therapy, 14(4), 655–669.