The top 5 best glute exercises – no equipment required
Most commonly referred to as your butt, the superficial muscles of the gluteal region include the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and tensor fascia lata. They are responsible for the abduction of the leg (moving it out to the side) and extension of the leg (moving it back behind you).
Even more importantly these muscles are responsible for stabilizing the pelvis and keeping your hips and knees aligned. Prolonged sitting (aka the desk job) can cause these muscles to become weak and ineffective resulting in back pain, knee pain and an increased risk of injury.
Including glute strengthening exercises in your workouts is the key to keeping the lower body strong, aligned and pain free. Bonus – these are the largest muscles in your body and as such require a lot of energy. This translates into an increased calorie burn during your workout and at rest!
Here are the top 5 best exercises to add to your workout to build stronger glutes – no equipment required.
- Stand with your feet hip width or slightly further apart. Your toes should be pointing straight ahead or only slightly outward.
- Keep your weight on your heels and bend your knees while lowering your hips towards the ground as if you are sitting down on a chair. Try to keep your chest up and back straight.
- Continue until you feel a slight stretch in your quadriceps. Pause for a count of one. Do not let your knees extend out beyond the level of your toes.
- Return to the start position by pushing down through your heels and extending your hips forward until you are standing straight. Repeat.
Bulgarian Split Squat
- Stand roughly two feet in front of a sturdy bench or chair, your feet hip-distance apart, your core engaged, your shoulders back, and your chest and eyes pointing straight ahead.
- Place your right foot on the bench behind you. Check to make sure your feet are still roughly hip-distance apart, if not slightly wider. You don’t want your elevated foot to be aligned directly behind your front foot, as this will make balancing much more difficult. Remember: your back foot is just there to help you stay balanced—the engagement and movement of the exercise is focused on the front leg.
- Engage your core and, with your chest high and eyes looking straight ahead, bend your left knee, allowing your right knee and ankle to naturally bend as you move through the downward phase of the exercise without taking on the load with your back leg.
- Lower down until your left quadriceps is roughly parallel to the ground.
- Press back to standing by pushing through your left foot and using your left quad and glute to power the upward phase of the exercise. Exhale as you press to standing. Repeat for 10-12 reps then switch legs
- Stand in front of a sturdy bench, step or chair. Place your entire right foot on the step, keep your heel flat and your knee tracking behind the toes.
- Step up, keeping your torso tall and proud. Brace your core and straighten your leg to bring yourself to standing on the step.
- Keeping your shoulders back and head up, lower your leg down slowly to the ground.
- Repeat for 10-12 reps then switch legs
- Lie on your right side with your feet and hips stacked, your knees bent 90 degrees, and your head resting on your right arm.
- Draw your knees in toward your body until your feet are in line with your butt. Place your left hand on your left hip to ensure it doesn’t tilt backward. This is your starting position.
- Keeping your abs engaged and your feet together, raise your left knee as far as you can without rotating your hip or lifting your right knee off the floor.
- Hold for 1 second, squeezing your glutes at the top of the move, before slowly lowering your left knee to the starting position.
- Repeat for 15-20 reps then switch sides
Single Leg Glute Bridge
- Lie on your back with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor.
- Raise one leg off the floor and bend your knee up towards your chest. This is the start position.
- Perform the exercise by pushing down through your other heel and pushing your hips up, raising your glutes off the floor. Continue until your hips are in a straight line with your torso.
- Hold for a count of one.
- Return to the start position by lowering your hip to the floor.
- Repeat for 12-15 reps then switch sides.
Now it’s time to get moving. Add some or all of these exercises to your at home workout and reap the rewards!