How To Build/Strengthen Your Gluteals

One of the most neglected lower body muscle groups is the glutes, with training often focusing around these muscles but not trained specifically to build and develop. The glutes are made up of 3 different major muscles ( gluteus Maximus, gluteus medium and gluteus minimus ) originating from the ilium and sacrum and insert from the femur.

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We often hear that squats are a great way of increasing glute size and strength when infact there are a lot of different exercises out there which would benefit the glutes in the way that you want, in a much more efficient way. Below are a selection of different exercises which you could use to help develop the glutes in your training.

Sumo Deadlift

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The sumo deadlift is performed in a wide stance with the feet facing out to the side. This angle of movement requires a larger rotation in the hips meaning every muscle group in the glutes requires more activation, leading to all glute muscles being worked, and in time leading to a stronger/ more developed glutes. 

Single leg deadlift

This exercise can be performed with, dumbbells, barbell or kettlebell...

This exercise can be performed with, dumbbells, barbell or kettlebell...

The single leg deadlift is a great way to target each muscle individually. As the exercise is performed on one leg, it means that the hamstrings and glutes have to work as stabilisers to allow your body to keep its balance. Forcing the body to do this kind of action, builds strength and stability throughout the whole body. Not only does the single leg deadlift target the hamstrings and gluteals but also core has to work against itself to keep your spine inline and centre of gravity even throughout the exercise. 

Romanian deadlift/stiff leg deadlift

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If you have found the previous exercise a little difficult due to to balance ( single leg deadlift ) then you can break the exercise down into the Romanian deadlift. This exercise is working the same muscles, but with both feet on the floor. Due to the hip hinging movement, and straighter leg position in the Romanian deadlift it allows strength to build In the hamstrings and glutes where as a conventional deadlift would focus more into the quads due to the bending of the knees. The important note to take when performing this exercises is to keep the laterals engaged and stray away from having the tendency to arch the back. Many of us suffer from tightened hamstrings due to desk jobs, so only take the bar as low as you can go, without arching the spine. Once you feel the spine may begin to arch, return back to your starting position.

Hip Thrusters

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Hip thrusts are a great way to target the glutes, lower core and hamstrings. This exercise can be performed with a barbell or simply just bodyweight. Place the feet hip width apart, drive the weight through the heels and bring the hips up so that they are inline with the torso. During the concentric movement ( hip extension ) the muscles begin to shorten, and with the weight loaded onto the hips it means that the muscle activation is a lot higher than it would be during a squat, making this movement much more beneficial and effective. Return back to the starting position.

Single leg hip bridge 

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Following from the hip thruster, the single leg hip bridge is a great way for activating the glutes individually. Lying in a supine position, place the feet hip width apart. Raise one leg off the floor, and push through the heels lifting the hips off the floor. As the hips try and keep balance during the elevation the core begins to engage, resulting in strengthening around the torso aswell as the gluteals. 

Prone banded hip extension

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Lying in a prone position, place a resistance band so it sits just below the knees. Raise the legs off the floor and resist against the band. As the legs lift the hamstrings, glutes and lower back begin to activate. This exercise is great for those who want to activate the glutes with less intensity.

Cable pull through

The cable pull through is a great way to target the glutes and hamstrings. With your back facing the cable machine, stand with your feet hip width apart. Holding the rope in front of the hips, with the cable travelling through the legs, bend at the waist and sit your hips back until your torso is around 45 degrees. In an explosive movement extend the hips to stand up and return back into the starting position. With the weight centred through the legs you may feel the tendency to want to fall back. This added tension also means that the core needs to resist against the weight, making the muscles again work that little extra. This exercise is also beneficial for those who feel the strain on their back when performing other exercises like the deadlift or squat. 

Kettlebell swing

Standing with the feet shoulder width apart and holding the kettlebell in both hands. Bend your knees, and push the hips back, lean forward keeping the back straight and lower the weight between the knees so the kettlebell tucks into the bum. Thrust the hips forward with power and let the kettlebell swing up to eye height. Allow the gravity to pull the kettlebell back down to starting position. The kettlebell swing is a great way for increasing power and endurance in the glutes and hamstring muscles. With the hip thrusting action, forcing the weight upwards, it again enables you to work the glutes in a different way. 


If you would like any further advice about your training, please do not hesitate to contact here at PNF.

Rachel