Glute Activation Exercises for Strength & Mobility

February 12, 2017 by VAHVA Fitness

Glute activation exercises to add strength and mobility to your glutes. Ideal to do as a warm-up or as a part of your mobility routine.

Glutes are the powerhouse of your hips and they are one of the strongest and most versatile muscles of the human body.

Glutes play a part in almost every function of the hip: extension, abduction, adduction and in both internal and external rotation. In order to have a strong and mobile lower body, your glute muscles (maximum, medius and minimus) need to be in a good shape.

Women use countless of drills to strengthen and shape their glutes. Many athletes also spend lots of time on mobilizing their glutes because glutes generate lots of power and agility in the lower body.

It's possible that your glutes are strong in some limited aspects, but weak and immobile in some other functions. The drills below can open up your glutes and work all parts of the glutes. These drills mostly consist of hip extension, hip external rotation and hip abduction.

All of these glute activation exercises are done in an external rotation (feet pointing outwards) to increase the activation of the glute muscles. The external rotation increases the engagement of gluteus medius and the lower fibers of gluteus maximus. External rotation also makes it easier to abduct the hip. 

You don't need to use a bench if you don't have one available. Glute bridges are very effective alone as well. 

These exercises are ideal to do as a warm up or as a part of your leg / glute / mobility workout.

Knees Flexed Glute Bridge

glute bridge for gluteal activation

How close your feet are to your body will change the activation of the posterior chain and thus the stimulus of these exercises. You can also play with different leg widths.

Your legs in a flexed position (90 degree angle or larger) is often the easiest way to engage your glutes. Correct execution is vital: try to really flex the glutes instead of performing the exercise with your hamstrings or the lower back.

Straight Leg Glute Bridge

straight leg glute bridge

Straight leg glute bridge will make the exercise harder and here you really need to try to contract the glute muscles as hard as you can.

Raise the hips by contracting the glutes and hold for 1-2 seconds at the top.

One Leg Glute Bridge

one leg glute bridge straight legs

You can perform both flexed and straight leg glute bridges by utilizing only one leg at the time. This will significantly increase the difficulty and add resistance on one side.


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