Glute isolation exercises are an important part of a well-rounded glute workout regimen. Your glutes consist of three major muscles: the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus. All three of these muscle groups need to be targeted by different exercises in order for your workouts to be effective. Here is a list of some basic glute isolation exercises.
1. Cable Glute Kickbacks
Cable glute kickbacks are one of the most effective exercises you can do for strengthening your glutes. While there are several additional exercises that you can add to your program for developing stronger glutes, kickbacks are a popular choice because they’re simple, effective, and inexpensive. Here is how you do proper Cable glute kickbacks;
- Position a hip abduction machine with the pulley at ankle height.
- Step on to the foot platform, then carefully cross your other leg in front of the working leg.
- Grasp the railing for support, then press your working heel into the platform and push your hips forward, extending your leg straight back.
- Pause, then slowly return to the starting position.
The cable glute kickback is a terrific exercise for targeting the glutes directly. With this in mind, I highly recommend that you work this move into your program on a regular basis—especially if you’re looking to add some definition and shape to your booty.
2. Donkey Kicks
Donkey kicks are hip extension exercises, which involve kicking your heels toward the glutes. At first, donkey kicks are somewhat challenging to execute simply because of the range of motion involved. However, once you get used to the motion, performing donkey kicks is a great way to improve flexibility and glute strength. To do donkey kicks;
- Start on all fours with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips.
- Keeping your core engaged, kick your right heel toward your glutes.
- Pause for a brief moment and then return to the starting position.
- Repeat the same motion with your left heel.
Donkey Kicks are valuable for training the body’s center of mass, and as such, can be adapted to be a useful exercise. With proper use, donkey kicks can be an excellent way to strengthen the gluteus maximus and transverse abdominis in general.
3. Lying Hip Abductions
Lying hip abductions are great for improving glute activation. They work the glutes from a posterior, or back angle. This can be beneficial in working the muscles through their possible range of motion, particularly if the hips are tight. Additionally, hip abductions (separating the legs to the side) are important for gluteal symmetry when they’re done unilaterally — meaning only one leg at a time.
How to do Lying Hip Abductions the right way;
- Lie on your side with your bottom leg bent and your top leg straight.
- Place your hand on your hip and use your hand to subtly guide your top leg away from your bottom leg.
- Hold for two seconds before returning to the starting position.
- Perform 12-15 reps on each side.
Lying hip abductions are a great exercise to improve your single-leg stabilization ability. If you can balance, they can also be used in bridging exercises to work on glute strength from different angles. Lying hip abductions, though not as flashy as glute bridges, are a great option for both athletes and non-athletes alike.
4. Fire Hydrants
Fire hydrants are a great way to isolate one side of your glutes especially if you are working unilaterally. They are a simple and effective exercise, while they can be performed with an external load, they also transition nicely into most leg workout routines. To do fire hydrants;
- Position yourself in a quadruped position with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips.
- Keeping your knee bent to 90 degrees, lift your leg out to the side so that your thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Pause for a moment, and then slowly lower your leg back to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
Fire hydrants are an essential exercise for glute enthusiasts. They allow you to build upon your existing knowledge of the glutes by working on some finer details, such as anterior and lateral hip stabilization.
5. Leg Extended Hip Thrust
Leg extended hip thrust is also known as Glute bridge. This exercise is specifically for glute muscles and will help to increase maximum strength and endurance in glutes. Leg extended hip thrust can help in putting abs and back in good shape. Here is how you do leg extended hip thrust;
- Lie down on your back on a bench, with your feet flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart.
- Drive your heels into the ground, and press your hips up toward the ceiling, extending your legs.
- Hold for two seconds, and then slowly lower your hips back to the starting position.
There are many different exercises you can do to build glutes, but the leg extended hip thrust is definitely one of the best. It’s an awesome move that not only targets your butt muscles, but also builds up stability in your hips and core, as well as improving your balance. In other words, this exercise pretty much hits all the major muscles in your lower body.
Glute isolation training is a great idea as long as it’s done properly. There are many benefits to this training, but if you’re just trying to do more glute work, don’t forget that deadlifting, squatting and lunging—and their variations—will provide plenty of glute stimulation. Not only that, but they are very functional movements that translate well to life and sport. Use them as your foundation and experiment with isolated glute work on top of that.