Glute strength is an important part of a well-rounded fitness program. A strong, athletic lower body is not only good for helping prevent injury and improve movement efficiency but is also a great asset in developing balance and stability for better performance in other areas of your life.
This article will provide you with some lower glute exercises to help you stay strong and active in more than one way!
1. Donkey Kicks
Donkey Kicks are a lower glute exercise you can use to strengthen your glutes. Runners and cross-trainers need to target their glutes since they’re responsible for powering through their stride. When you kick during running and training sessions, the hip extension and knee movement come from the gluteal muscles. This exercise helps improve your overall strength as well as enhance certain areas of your body.
Here is how you do donkey kicks:
- Start on all fours with your knees and hands on the ground. Keep your spine in a neutral position and your gaze focused on the floor in front of you.
- Brace your core and kick one leg straight back, keeping your foot flexed.
- Squeeze your glute at the top of the movement and hold for a second.
- Slowly lower your leg back to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps, then switch legs.
The gluteus maximus is your largest muscle and is one of the most important ones in helping you achieve both fitness and body goals. Donkey Kicks are one of my favorite exercises to target your glutes because they can be done anywhere, anytime, and specifically target the muscles that lift your butt.
2. Glute Bridges
The Glute Bridge work the posterior chain muscles like hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, as well as provide stability for hips and knees by strengthening spinal erectors and stabilizers.
Some people have trouble figuring out where exactly to start or how to move their legs to effectively target different muscle groups in the glute area. Glute bridges are one option that can be effective if you have a hard time with squats.
To do this exercise:
- Start by lying flat on your back with feet flat on the ground and shoulder-width apart, legs bent to 90 degrees.
- Drive your heels into the ground, and lift your torso and upper legs into the air, extending your hips until your thighs and torso are in line with each other.
- Squeeze your glutes, and hold for two seconds.
- Return to the starting position, and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.
Glute bridges are one of the simplest yet most effective exercises to build up your underbutt. If you have weakness in this area or spend a lot of time sitting, or even if you just want fuller, toned glutes, then glute bridges can help.
Hyperextensions elevate your legs, buttocks, and abs while strengthening your entire core. This can be especially useful for women who have thick thighs or love curves. It doesn’t require any equipment, which makes it an ideal strength builder for people who have difficulty accessing gyms.
Here is how you do this exercise:
- Start by lying face down on a hyperextension bench, with your feet locked in the foot brace.
- For most benches, your body will be at a 45-degree angle.
- Cross your arms over your chest, and make sure your waist is clear of the thigh support so that you can bend at the waist.
- Lower your upper body down slowly by bending at the waist.
- Only lower your body halfway down for a partial stretch, exhaling on the way down.
- Slowly return your body to the up position where your entire body is straight in line, inhaling on the way up.
Hyperextensions are a great way to sculpt the butt and thighs. They work the glutes, quads, and hamstrings, as well as your lower back. You can also add them to other butt workouts to increase the difficulty. As you do more strength training exercises as part of your exercise routine, you will notice added definition in your backside.
4. Hip Thrusts
Hip thrusts are a key exercise that comes under the category of core and lower body exercise, which are important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It allows you to target your abdominal muscles while strengthening the hip rotators and glutes.
To do this exercise:
- First, lie flat on your back on the floor or a bench with your feet flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart.
- Drive your heels onto the floor and lift your hips so that your thighs and torso are in line with each other, forming a straight line from shoulders to knees.
- Hold for a second, then slowly lower your hips back to the starting position.
- Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
Hip Thrusts are one of the most effective exercises you can do for your glutes. Many studies have been done to test the effectiveness of hip thrusts, and they’ve proven time and time again to be one of the best glute builders out there. Hip Thrusts are not only able to quickly build mass, but they’ve also been shown to be an effective exercise for increasing functional strength as well. Be sure to include this exercise into your routine if you’re serious about building a round, shapely butt.
5. Single-Leg Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts
Single-leg dumbbell Romanian deadlifts using a dumbbell are one of the most effective exercises you can perform with your leg and lower back muscles, as well as other muscle groups like your gluteals. The stability produced by performing this exercise is incredibly beneficial to health, while the taxing nature of it will significantly improve strength and work capacity in the hamstrings, quadriceps, and groin muscles.
Here is how you do this exercise:
- Pick up a dumbbell in each hand and hold them at arm’s length in front of your thighs, with your palms facing your thighs.
- Brace your core, and stand with your feet about hip-width apart.
- Bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Keep your back flat as you do this.
- As you lower your torso, lift your right leg straight behind you, keeping it in line with your body. You should now be balanced on your left leg only, with the dumbbells in front of you.
- From this position, raise yourself back up to the starting position by extending at the hips until you’re standing upright again, then lower the right leg back down next to the left leg. That’s one rep.
- Repeat the movement, this time lifting your left leg. Continue alternating legs with each rep.
This exercise also works to strengthen your hamstrings, quadriceps, and groin muscles, but it can be hard to perform at first. You might want to start with a lighter weight before moving up or you could injure yourself. Doing your best to keep the core stable and free from movement is crucial in getting better results from the exercise, so try not to let your back arch or dip too much as you lift upwards. Always have an adequate amount of warm-up before attempting this exercise.
Lower Glute Anatomy
There are three primary muscles in the gluteus maximus: the gluteus minimus, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus maximus. Each muscle is responsible for different actions at the hip.
The gluteus minimus is the smallest of the three muscles and is located under the gluteus medius. It attaches to the front of the hipbone and helps to stabilize the hip joint.
The gluteus medius is located on top of the gluteus minimus. It attaches to the side of the hipbone and helps to lift the leg out to the side (abduction).
The gluteus maximus is located on top of both the gluteus medius and minimus. It attaches to the back of the hipbone and is responsible for extension, rotation, and abduction of the leg.
No doubt, the lower glutes still play an important role in athletic performance, even for advanced athletes. When you consider all of the implications of strong lower glutes and the greater proportion of booty mass muscle that can maximally contribute to total body strength in many women, the importance of this muscle group is evident. Postural correction must be part of any healthy fitness routine to avoid injury, but focusing on lower glute exercises has more benefits than just good posture.