If you’re really looking to work your glutes, you’ve probably already added squats to your workout routine. Yet not all exercises are created equal, and to really target the different parts of your glutes, you should be mixing things up (and no, we don’t mean doing a squat challenge).
Your glutes are the biggest muscle in your body and if your goal is to really build your glutes, you’ll need to target all the different parts of the muscle. By this we mean the gluteus medius, which is the highest of the glute muscles and is responsible for hip movement, for example when you step up onto something. Next is the gluteus minimus, which sits below the gluteus medius and also supports the hip, helping with walking and rotating the legs. The gluteus maximus is the largest of the three glute muscles, and is responsible for the rotation of the hip and the lateral rotation of the thigh. The gluteus maximus is also responsible for the shape of the butt, so is often one to target if you have a more aesthetic goal.
Of course, even if your goals aren’t to tone or build your glute muscles, keeping them strong is still important. Your glutes are responsible for powering the legs when we jump, walk, and run, so runners especially should make sure they are working on their glute strength if they are looking to PR at their next race.
5 exercises that really target your glutes:
Looking to target your glute muscles? Add these exercises to your workout routine.
1. Glute bridges
A simple exercise you can do with just your body weight, glute bridges target the hamstrings and the gluteus maximus, while also working the core. To do a glute bridge, lie on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Engaging your core (think about sucking your belly button in towards your spine), lift your hips up so your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line. Squeeze your glutes at the top, then lower your hips back down to the starting position — that’s one rep. Aim for two sets of 10 repetitions.
To make the move harder, put a weighted bar across your hips. Alternatively, put a resistance band around your legs, above the knee, or elevate your feet by putting them on a box or step to increase the range of motion. Finally, to really target your glutes, try adding single-leg glute bridges to your routine.
2. Banded glute kickbacks
When done with the correct form, glute kickbacks target all of the different muscles in the glutes, as well as the hamstrings, and core. To do a glute kickback, you’ll need to use a resistance band looped around your ankles (don’t have one? We’ve rounded up the best resistance bands on the market here). Standing with your legs hip-width apart and your core engaged, you’ll want to be facing a wall or a chair to hold onto for assistance