Unleashing the power: The glute-strengthening guide you need!

During a leg workout, your quadriceps and hamstrings get all of the attention. Sure, your glutes or butt muscles are activated during squats and reverse lunges, but not to the extent they need to be to see proper strength gains. Three glute muscles – maximus, medius, and minimus – work together to allow for proper flexion and rotation of your legs and execution of exercises. When your glutes become weak, this poses the risk of muscle overcompensation and injury to the lower back. Those who work a desk job are especially prone to weak glute muscles. Let's look at the benefits of having strong glutes and the top five exercises to strengthen your glute muscles. We'll also cover the fitness equipment you can use to build stronger glutes.


Why should you bother with strengthening your glute muscles? Strong glutes can improve your athletic performance and reduce your risk of injury. 

Here are a few more reasons you should focus on getting strong glutes:

Weight Management 

Adding glute-focused exercises into your workout routine will help burn more calories, supporting your goal of losing fat, getting shredded, or maintaining a healthy weight. Bonus tip: Pairing up glute exercises with a waist trimmer belt is a sure way to get lean.

Athletic Performance 

We often don't associate the glutes with power muscles, but where do you think that power to stand back up comes from when performing a squat? Strengthening the glutes will have real-world applications in your workouts and performance. For example, studies show stronger glutes help improve your running. [1]

Better Posture 

If you work at a desk, you're already aware of the strain on your body. Your shoulders are slumped, your upper back is sore, and your core isn't seeing any activation. Over time, this can lead to a slumped posture and a weak lower back. As a result, lower back pain can begin. Strengthening your glutes has been shown to improve posture and alleviate lower back pain. [2] Bad posture is no joke. Pelvic tilt, a common side effect of bad posture, can wreak havoc on your body, especially during workouts. Read more about the dangers of pelvic tilt.

Lower Risk of Injury 

Continuing with the point above, the surrounding muscles must pitch in more to compensate when you have weak glute muscles. This extra work will initially cause soreness that becomes a pain. If the lower back or hamstrings continue to be overworked to pick up the slack from the glutes, you'll dramatically increase your risk for injury. A lower back injury from a squat due to weak glutes is one of the most common gym injuries. Strengthen those glutes, and you'll protect yourself from injury.

Have a Nice Butt 

Functionality aside, let's talk about aesthetics: Exercising your glutes as you would your legs, chest, or back will give you a muscular and shapely butt.

Jeans will fit better, and regardless of whether you're a guy or girl, heads will turn. Get some attention for that hard work.


In a study published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, researchers wanted to determine which exercises activated the glute muscles the most. [3]

Here are the top five exercises for your glutes that you should start incorporating into your workout:

Side Plank with Hip Abduction

  • Lie on your left side with your legs stacked
  • Elevate yourself using your left elbow
  • Lift the right leg up and down
  • Be sure to maintain a straight and aligned posture throughout

Single Leg Squat

  • Place a chair nearby for balance
  • With your chest up and back straight, extend the arms
  • Raise your left foot out in front of you as well
  • Focusing the tension in the right leg, slowly descend
  • Pause when your thigh comes to parallel with the ground
  • Return to the starting position

If you have knee issues, consider using a knee sleeve to help with your performance and alleviate soreness. Not sure if you should be using a knee wrap or a knee sleeve? Find out which is better for you with our knee wrap vs. knee sleeve collection.


  • Lie on your left side
  • Stack your legs but keep the knees bent at a 45-degree angle
  • Support your head with your left arm
  • Make sure your feet stay touching throughout the exercise
  • Lift the upper knee without raising your hips
  • Your legs will form a clamshell shape
  • Pause, lower, and repeat

Lateral Step-Up

  • Place a sturdy box next to you or stand next to the stairs – The left side of your body will face the object.
  • Raise your left leg up and to the side
  • Secure your footing and lift yourself up
  • Slowly step back down
  • Once finished, repeat on the other side

Back-Elevated Glute Bridge

  • Begin by keeping your shoulder blades on a bench,
  • Keep yourself stable with your arms
  • You may have to begin with your butt a little bit off the floor if your shoulders are not able to get to the bench
  • Ensure that your feet are flat on the floor by bending your knees to about 90 degrees
  • Breathe in and exhale all your air out, and brace your core
  • Squeeze your glutes as you raise your hips up
  • Slowly lower to the starting position

   Note: Exercise equipment like an ab mat or squat pad can offer protection from hard floors.

A Healthier, Fitter, and More Powerful You!

Incorporating glute-focused exercises into your workout routine can bring about numerous benefits, from improved athletic performance and posture to a reduced risk of injury and better weight management. Strengthening your glutes enhances functional movements and adds to your physique's aesthetics, giving you a more sculpted and shapely butt.

You can effectively target and strengthen your glute muscles by including the top five glute exercises mentioned above - Side Plank with Hip Abduction, Single Leg Squat, Clamshell, Lateral Step-Up, and Back-Elevated Glute Bridge. These exercises have been shown to activate the glutes the most, according to research.

Remember, if you have any pre-existing conditions or concerns, it's essential to consult with a fitness professional or healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen.

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  1. Lieberman DE, Raichlen DA, Pontzer H, Bramble DM, Cutright-Smith E. The human gluteus maximus and its role in running. J Exp Biol. 2006;209(Pt 11):2143-2155. doi:10.1242/jeb.02255.
  2. Jeong UC, Sim JH, Kim CY, Hwang-Bo G, Nam CW. The effects of gluteus muscle strengthening exercise and lumbar stabilization exercise on lumbar muscle strength and balance in chronic low back pain patients. J Phys Ther Sci. 2015;27(12):3813-3816. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.3813
  3. Boren K, Conrey C, Le Coguic J, Paprocki L, Voight M, Robinson TK. Electromyographic analysis of gluteus medius and gluteus maximus during rehabilitation exercises. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2011;6(3):206-223.