Complete Glute Workout | Best Exercises for Glutes

February 24, 2017 by VAHVA Fitness

Complete glute workout that covers many functions of the 3 glute muscles. Your hamstrings will also be worked to a great extent. 

Your glute muscles (gluteus maximus, medius and minimus) are some of the most versatile muscles in the lower body and they cover numerous articulations of the hips.

Because your glutes play such a big role in almost all functions of the hips, they need to be trained accordingly. One or two glute exercises may not be enough because you won't be activating all glute muscles to their full potential.   

Glute exercises are not only for the girls. If you want to maximize your progress in the lower body, your glutes need to be fully trained.

There is no such thing as a "girl exercise". There are only effective ways to train different functions of the hips and effective ways to target different glute muscles.

A lot of people discredit many exercises such as glute kickbacks and side raises, but in reality they are nothing but movements that work certain functions of the hip. When you do them right, you will work the glute muscles right and this will produce great results.

Bulky biceps look good, but so does a firm butt - regardless of your sex!

Complete Glute and Hamstrings Workout Routine

Glute Activation Drills

Side Glute Raise: 2 x 20 repetitions

Front Glute Raise: 2 x 20 repetitions

Glute Kickback: 2 x 20 repetitions

Main Workout

Jefferson Deadlift: 2 x 10-20 repetitions

Hip Thrust: 2 x 20 repetitions

Single Leg Hip Thrust: 2 x 10-20 repetitions

Elevated Glute Bridge Variations: 4 x 10-20 repetitions

1-2 minutes of rest between sets and exercises.

Glute Activation Drills

Side/Front Glute Raise

lying hip abduction leg raise

Side glute raise (hip abduction) will target the gluteus medius (side/lateral glute muscle) and gluteus minimus. Your TFL (tensor fasciae latae) will also be worked very nicely.

Front glute raise (hip transverse abduction) will work the gluteus medius and minimus, but also the gluteus maximus. TFL isn't worked so much here.

Do the movements with control and slow tempo. You can do small pulses at the top to really feel the glute muscles contract. 

One common mistake is to use your obliques to move the hip. You can hold your hand on your hips to prevent any excess hip movement.

Glute Kickback

glute kickback donkey kickback

Glute kickback (hip extension) will mainly target the gluteus maximus. You can rotate the leg sideways and kickback the leg a bit to the side to increase the activation of the gluteus maximus. 

Raising the leg directly up without any rotation tends to work more the hamstrings and the lower back than the glutes.

Slow tempo and control are the keys to best progress. You should be able to feel the glute muscles contract, otherwise you might be just wasting your time.

Main Workout

Jefferson Deadlift

Jefferson deadlift will hit all glute muscles very effectively, your inner thighs and hamstrings may also be worked. Execution of the exercise just needs to be on point. If you do the exercise wrong, you might be utilizing more of your quads and the lower back than the glutes.

Your feet should be pointing outwards. You should be moving the upper body as little as possible (you don't need to straighten your back!) and try to focus on feeling the glutes.

Pushing from your heels can help. You can keep constant tension in your glutes with small pulses at the bottom.

Hip Thrust

hip thrusts for glutes

Take a bit wider than shoulder width stance with your legs and let your feet point outwards. This increases the activation of the glute muscles. You will mostly work the gluteus maximus, but you can activate the other glute muscles by taking a wider stance or by using bands between your legs.

You don't need to use lots of weight here. You will make better progress when you maximally contract the glutes and fully extend the hips at the top. Hold it at the top for a couple of seconds to increase the effectiveness of the exercise.

Elevated Glute Bridge

elevated hamstrings hip thrusts

Elevating your legs will stimulate the gluteus maximus differently compared to the conventional hip thrust. Your hamstrings will be working super hard in this variation. The more further away your feet are, the more hamstrings activation there will be.

You can do elevated glute bridges with two legs or one leg at the time and you can also vary the rotation of the legs (feet forward or outwards). See this video for more variations.


samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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