Glute exercises: the best workouts for activating your glutes, according to fitness trainers

Posted by for Strong Women

What are the best glute exercises? Fitness trainers explain how to strengthen those muscles in your bum when you have been sat at a desk all day. 

Follow any fitness trainer on social media and you’ve probably found a glute workout on their feed. While the popularity for working on your backside muscles might stem from our desires to get Kim Kardashian curves, it turns out that there’s more benefits to glute training than perkiness. 

Most of us spend long periods of times sitting down, and that’s true now more than ever. But it can lead to your glutes getting weak, which will cause all sorts of imbalances in your muscles. “Remember: the glutes are the largest muscle in our bodies. You need to pay them attention,” says Emma Obayuvana, Strong Women ambassador. “If your glutes are weak, that can translate across your whole body.”

Each week, Strong Women ambassadors are here to answer some of the most-asked questions from women who want to get into lifting. This week, they’re sharing their glute strengthening tips. 

What are the best glute exercises?


“One move that gets really deep into the glutes is a hip thrust, but with your back resting against a bench rather than on the floor. That increases the range of motion, so when you dip down your hips have to travel further, increasing how hard the muscles have to work. You can do them bodyweight or add a barbell across the hips for extra resistance. 

“I also really like single leg work for building the glutes. Things like split squats and curtsy lunges with added resistance are great to target and stabilise the glutes.”


“I’d categorise your glute work into activation and strengthening. To activate the glute max, I do bodyweight hip thrusts; for the glute med clams or abductions are great to stimulate the muscle. 

“For building strength, I’d go for a deadlifts or sumo squats. Using the sumo position, turning the toes out and making your stance wider, you’ll hit your glutes rather than your quads. You can do them bodyweight, but adding load makes it more challenging.”

Why do we need strong glutes?


“As a population, our glutes are quite lazy because we spend so much time sitting on them. If our posterior chain is weak it’s more likely that our anterior, the muscles on the front of the body, will take over. That means your quads will take all the load and end up extra tight, so you’ll be imbalanced. For some people, it might lead to pelvic instability or even injury.”


Your glutes support your lower back, so they need to be strong for when you’re lifting, both at the gym or in your everyday life. Strong glutes can also prevent knee injuries, and they’re important for proper pelvic alignment. It’s such a big muscle and it affects so many parts of our body. It’s important to protect them in order to stay free from injuries.”

How often should you train glutes?


“It’s important to train them a couple of times a week to elicit growth, but if you’re thinking about growing that muscle then make sure each session includes a lot of resistance. Keep the weight high and your rep low to work on strength. Remember, it’s such a huge muscle that it needs adequate time to rest and recover from that hard work. So no more than twice a week.”

Follow @StrongWomenUK on Instagram for the latest workouts, delicious recipes and motivation from your favourite fitness experts.

Images: Sarah Brick

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