What do the glutes do?

The Glutes, made up of the Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius & Gluteus Minimus are the primary muscles for supporting both the pelvis and hips. Having both strong and supportive glutes is key when it comes to the safe practice of exercise and day to day activities; such as standing, walking & running.

Unfortunately, with the growing number of “sedentary” lifestyles (those that require high amounts of sitting) it can lead to what is called “gluteal amnesia” or weak glutes. Weaker glutes can cause instability in the hip joint as well as lower back issues due to over compensation within the quadriceps and hip flexors. So, it’s important to start focusing on ways we can combat this. Have a look at these top 5 glute exercises below…

For Beginners:

1 – Glute Bridge

Lie on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Keep your arms down by your side. Pushing through your heels, lift your hips off the ground (squeezing your glutes as hard as you can). At the top part of the extension, your hips, and shoulders should form a straight line. Keep your core tight to avoid over-extension in the spine. Hold this position for a few seconds before slowly returning back down.

Have a go at three sets of 20 bridges.

2 – Step Up’s

Standing in front of a step box or bench, place one foot flat on the surface of the step or bench (making sure the whole of the foot is on). Pushing through the heels, squeeze the glutes and quadriceps to allow yourself to come up onto the box in a standing position. Keeping your balance, make sure you keep the other foot off the box (if you are still working on your balance, place both feet on the box). Slowly, keeping on one leg, lower yourself back to the floor and repeat.

Have a go at doing three sets of 20 reps.

3 – Hip Abductions

Using a loop resistance band around the ankle (or bodyweight) stand up tall. With the weight through the centre of one foot, squeeze the glutes and raise the opposite leg sideways until you feel tension in the glutes (keep the foot pointing forwards). Make sure the core is tight to help with balance. If needed, use a wall or surface for support. Once paused at the top, slowly control the leg back down, keeping it off the floor, before repeating.

Have a go at doing four sets for 20 reps each leg.

For Intermediates:

4 – Hip Thrusts

Once you feel confident with the Glute Bridge, have a go at this.

You will need a flat bench or box. Start by lying horizontally on the side of the box so your upper back is supported with your feet in front on the floor. Pushing through the heels, extend the hips upwards, locking out with the glutes at the top (with full extension your knees should be in line with your heels). Keep your head up & forward with your chin slightly down all the way through. Squeeze the glutes at the top and slowly return back to starting position after a couple of seconds. Once you feel you have mastered this, add some weights (Barbell or a Dumbbell).

Have a go at doing three sets of 20 reps.

5 – Bulgarian Split Squats

For the more intermediate gym-goers. The BSS, is a great way to also improve your balance and mobility.

Standing away from a bench, raise one leg behind you and rest the top of your foot on the top of the bench. Keep yourself upright and make sure your hips are square to the bench. Tighten your core, and slowly lower your back leg so that your rear knee flexes down closely towards the floor. The weight should be through the front heel and the front thigh should be parallel to the floor.  Squeeze at the bottom, before driving through the glutes and the quadriceps to push yourself back up.

Have a go at doing three sets of 10-15 reps each leg.

If you have been thinking of adding more glute exercises to your routine, give these a try, let me know how you get on.

For more information or if you would like a demonstration of any the glute exercises please get in touch!

Georgia French
GF Fitness
Breedon Priory Health Club